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M. K. Sinha, C. S. Kar, T. Ramasubramanian, A. Kundu, B. S. Mahapatra
Chittaranjan Kole
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The genus Corchorus belonging to the family Malva- ceae (formerly under Tiliaceae) is distributed through- out the tropical and subtropical regions of the world (Kundu 1951; Purseglove 1968; Chang andMiau 1989). Although 215 species, subspecies, varieties, and forms have been reported under the genus Corchorus (Global Biodiversity Information Facility 2008: http://www. gbif.org), precise number of good species is approxi- mately 100 (Saunders 2006). Out of 100 good species, Corchorus capsularis and Corchorus olitorius were selected and domesticated in the wake of civilization and are the commercially important cultivated species of Corchorus. The others were found wild in nature, but most of them are now extinct or in endemic condi- tion. However, being an extremely variable genus, its natural distribution, genetic and evolutionary relation- ships, as well as center of origin are poorly documen- ted, virtually controversial and yet to be resolved. Wild Corchorus taxa are mostly distributed in the tropical/subtropical regions of Africa, America (inclu- ding Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Venezuela, and West Indies), Australia, China, Taiwan, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Philippines (Fig. 2.1; Kundu 1951; Brands 1989–2007).

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