Comparative study on the phenology, gender and yield components of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) varieties
The intensity of sex expression is important in crops, including cucumber, since sex form and flowering have direct effects on date of harvesting and yield. Two groups of cucumber comprising a native variety (Odukpani) and elite varieties (Griffaton, Poinsett, Ashley, Marketmore and Monarch) were evaluated in 2015 and 2016 cropping seasons at the Teaching and Research Farm, College of Agriculture, Garkawa, Plateau State; to assess flowering, sex expression and some yield traits. The experimental design was randomized complete block design with the 6 cucumber varieties as the treatments, replicated five times. The two groups differed significantly (p < 0.05) in phonological, flowering and yield traits assessed. The elite varieties were superior with respect to flowering traits, as they flowered early. The intra-population hierarchical cluster analysis of quantitative traits grouped the elite varieties in one main cluster and the native variety (Odukpani) alienated as an outlier. The cluster plots showed that Odukpani was robust in vegetative growth, produced few but larger fruit size and flowering was delayed for over two weeks. Conversely, the elite varieties flowered early, produced more flowers and recorded superior number of fruits per plant. The profuse production of pistillate flowers by the elite varieties had pronounced yield advantage over the local variety. Hybridization between the two groups of cucumber would make a mark in the drive for sustainable cucumber fruit yield.