Plant systematics and evolution vol:255 issue:3-4 pages:225-236
Plantains (Musa spp. AAB) are regarded as the most diverse subgroup of the triploid bananas. Initially they were classified on the basis of morphological characters. New molecular techniques are now being used to explain plantain diversity. Prior to this study no attempt has been made to merge morphological and molecular data in classifying plantains. The objectives of this study were (i) to review the different efforts in plantain taxonomy, (ii) to apply numerical taxonomy to morphological descriptors, and (iii) to evaluate the integration of morphological and molecular data with a common numerical taxonomy method. The results indicate that numerical taxonomy can be an appropriate instrument to compare morphological and molecular data under certain conditions. In the case of plantains, the data sets obtained from morphological and molecular characteristics needs to be quite large. An incomplete match of morphological and molecular data sets could imply that some morphological characters are being influenced by the environment or that the molecular markers have not sampled critical regions of the genome.