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allows considerable range in character selection. Added to this, vegetative propagation is simple, which means that any mutant type can be perpetuated without difficulty and clonal lines established.7

Market Development The creation of a new crop requires the development of marketing as well as horticulture. Because pepinos are new to consumers outside the Andes, markets are unstable. Furthermore, there is a lack of basic marketing knowledge, consumer acceptability is unknown, and ultimate market demand is uncertain. Promotion and market development could do much to assure the steady advancement this crop deserves.

Species Information

Botanical Name Solanum muricatum Aiton

Family Solanaceae (nightshade family)

Botanical Synonyms Solanum variegatum Ruíz and Pavón; Solanum guatemalense Hort., and others

Common Names

Quechua: cachun, xachun

Aymara: 'kachan, kachuma

Spanish: pepino, pepino dulce, pepino blanco, pepino morado, pepino redondo, pepino de fruta, pepino de agua, mataserrano, peramelon (Canary Islands)

English: pepino, Peruvian pepino, pear melon, melon pear, melon shrub, tree melon, sweet cucumber, mellowfruit, “kachano” (an Aymara derivative that has been suggested to avoid confusion with melons or cucumbers)

Origin. The place and time of the pepino's domestication are unknown, but the plant is native to the temperate Andean highlands. It is known only in cultivation or as an escaped plant. It is an ancient crop, and is frequently represented on pre-Columbian Peruvian pottery.

Description. This highly variable species is a sprawling, perennial herb that reaches about 1 m in height, with a woody base and fibrous roots. Several stems may arise from the base, and they may establish roots where they contact soil.

The leaves may be simple or compound; when compound, the number of leaflets may vary from 3 to 7. The white to pale-purple to


7 Recent studies show that even immature seed is viable if germinated in nutrient agar. Information from J.R. Martineau.


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