The phytochemical and morphological diversity analysis of Ziziphus nummularia (Burm.f.) Wight & Arn. populations in South of Iran
Ziziphus nummularia is a multipurpose and tropical tree with medicinal, nutritional, industrial, and economic values. This tree, which belongs to the Rhamnaceae family, is originated from the South of Asia and North of Africa. This research was carried out to investigate the phytochemical and morphological diversity of 20 wild populations collected from different Southern regions of Iran. Statistical significant difference ranges between population were found in respect to saponin of the leaf (2.2-5.4 mg/g) and fruit (1.2-3.2 mg/g), phenol of the leaf (0.7-2.9 mg/g) and fruit (0.03-0.4 mg/g), tannin of the leaf (0.8-3.5 mg/g) and fruit (1.5-1.7 mg/g), and flavonoid of the leaf (3.3-4.3 mg/g) and fruit (1.5-2.4 mg/g). A factor analysis based on principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that the first three components (PC1-PC3) explain 79.04% of total variations. The first component (PC1) is explained by the most important traits of the PCA coefficient such as the leaf saponin, width of the end leaf, fruit saponin, length of the end leaf, leaf length and width, and leaf phenol with 42% of the total variation. Hierarchical cluster analysis divided the populations into four main groups with high diversity. In general, the Izeh Tarakab population had the highest content of leaf and fruit saponin. The content of leaf and fruit saponin as the major secondary metabolite could be a good determinant for detecting diversity in the wild population of Z. nummularia.
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