In this context, a clade is a group of closely related Capsicum species which are descended from a common ancestor. Species within a clade will share many characteristics, and will generally cross pollinate more easily than with other species from outside the clade. There are three main clades recognised within the genus Capsicum, and they are outlined below.
The largest and most important clade, consisting of Cc. annuum, chinense, frutescens and galapagoense.
A small clade comprising Cc. baccatum and praetermissum.
This clade contains Cc. pubescens, eximium and cardenasii. It does not include C. tovarii which, although morphologically similar, is genetically distinct.
This group has split of from the main evolutionary line of Capsicum species and exhibits some interesting peculiarites. C. cardenasii is the only Capsicum species known to be self incompatible. This means that flowers will not set fruit unless they are fertilized by pollen from another plant. The otherwise extremely similar C. eximium is self compatible.
Members of the clade also exhibit unilateral incompatibility with species outside the clade, meaning that such interspecific crosses will work in one direction, but not in the other.
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