Afikpo, coefficient of variation, Edda grove, germplasm, mesocarp to fruit ratio, nigrescens
The need for extensive germplasm collection to broaden the genetic base of the oil palm breeding material and to safeguard against crop vulnerability, inherent in growing of uniform and closely related cultivars over wide areas has become imperative. This paper highlights the oil palm germplasm collections from the highland areas of Afikpo in Eastern Nigeria. Fourteen oil palm accessions were collected from ten locations in Afikpo which do not form part of the continuous stretch of the oil palm belt and hitherto unexploited. Data on stem height, bunch weight, bunch length, bunch width, bunch spine length, bunch stalk weight, fruit length and width were recorded in-situ. Mesocarp, kernel, and shell to fruit ratios were computed. Elementary statistics (mean values, range and coefficient of variation) were evaluated using standard procedures. Results revealed very high variation for the fruit and bunch quality traits. It was however interesting to note the inheritance of most of the qualitative traits and their frequencies in the wild. Only nigrescens fruits were encountered in the groves while the dominant genotype for shell, the dura
occurred at high frequency. The Ufensi Edda tenera had the highest mesocarp to fruit ratio (73.42%) while heavy bunch weight was recorded for the duras in the Oso Edda and Ndiba Edda groves. Height differences were generally very small in the tenera accessions than in the duras. The prospected fruits have been used to raise seedlings for future planting in the field gene banks following introgression into the breeding programme.
Keywords: Afikpo, coefficient of variation, Edda grove, germplasm, mesocarp to fruit ratio, nigrescens