Vepris heterophylla (Engl.) Letouzey (Rutaceae) is a useful and threatened plant of Sudano-Sahelian zone of Cameroon. However, its description is not clear. This study aims to evaluate morphological variations among ten populations to delimitating the V. heterophylla morphotypes in the zone. Two hundred and fifty (250) individuals belonging to 10 populations were assessed by morphological descriptors including eight quantitative parameters (Leaf length, leaf width, petiole length, petiolule length, acumen length, fruit major axis and fruit minor axis). The data underwent a principal components analysis (PCA). Results show that the leaf length, leaf width, the petiole length, the petiolule length and the acumen length varied from 54.4 to 102.29, 18.61 to 30.0, 16.44 to 31.16, 1.18 to 2.8 and 1.71 to 4.3 mm, respectively. The fruit major axis, the fruit minor axis and the peduncule length ranged respectively from 1.13 to 1.34, 0.95 to 1.15 and 0.31 to 0.44 mm. PCA generated from grower general dissimilarity coefficient among all populations showed three distinct populations. Grouping of populations did not reflect bioclimatic patterns, this allows saying that the distribution of population could be influenced by environmental conditions. The divergence between the 10 populations based on morphological traits presented in this study constitutes a fundamental element in the improvement of the delimitation of the species morphotype.
Key words: Morphological descriptors, population, Vepris heterophylla, Sudano-Sahelian zone, morphotype.
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