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Morphological characterization of cashew (<i>Anacardium occidentale L.</i>) in four populations in Malawi

FM Chipojola
WF Mwase
MB Kwapata
JM Bokosi
JP Njoloma
MF Maliro


An assessment of the genetic diversity in cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) would assist in planning for future selection of good high yield germplasm that will produce nuts of high quality and fetch high
prices on the market. The genetic diversity and relationship among 40 accessions of cashew collected from 4 populations (Liwonde, Nkope, Kaputu and Chikwawa) was characterized using quantitative and
qualitative traits. The study results have revealed similarity values between 35 to 66%. Analyses of genetic similarity based on unweighted pair group method of arithmetic averages (UPGMA) grouped the 40 accessions into 4 clusters with 14 sub-clusters and the principal component analysis revealed that apple length, apple nut ratio, nut weight, kernel weight, out turn percent and flower sex ratio accounted for most of the variation. The variation could be attributed to genetic history, ecogeographic origin and
selection for desired agronomic traits by farmers. Accessions LW41, NE2, NE4, CH18 and PAL26 showed potential for selection in nut and kernel weight and out turn percent suggesting that this could be a valuable source of variation for tree improvement programme in cashew nuts. The findings
suggest availability of broad genetic base that could be exploited for future cashew selection and breeding in Malawi.

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eISSN: 1684-5315