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Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) is an economic and staple crop in sub-Saharan Africa. The genetic diversity in its germplasm is an invaluable aid for its crop improvement. The objective of this study was to assess the existing genetic diversity among sorghum landraces in the southwestern highlands of Uganda. A total of 47 sorghum landraces, collected from southwestern highlands of Uganda, were characterised using 12 qualitative and 13 quantitative traits. The study was conducted at Kachwekano Research Farm in Kabale District, at an altitude of 2,223 m above sea level, during growing season of December 2014 to August 2015. Panicle shape and compactness were the most varied qualitative traits. Grain yield (1.23 to 11.31 t ha-1) and plant height (144.7 to 351.6 cm) were among quantitative traits that showed high variability. Days to 50% flowering (115 to 130 days) showed the least variability. Results of UPGMA cluster analysis generated a dendrogram with three clusters. Panicle weight, leaf width, stem girth, exertion length, peduncle length, panicle shape and compactness, glume colour and threshability were major traits responsible for the observed clustering (P<0.001). Principal Component Analysis revealed the largest variation contributors.
Key Words: Panicle morphology, Sorghum bicolor, traits