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Four coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) varieties, West African Tall (WAT), Malayan Green Dwarf (MGD), Malayan Yellow Dwarf (MYD) and Malayan Red Dwarf (MRD), planted in the Main Station of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) near Benin City, in an isolated seed garden to produce different types of hybrids through open pollination were used Selected dwarf mother palms were emasculated, while the tall mother palms were not, allowing the tall palms to cross pollinate the emasculated dwarf palms. Controlled natural pollination of these selected dwarf mother palms was carried out for four years, 1996 – 2000. Data collected include number of bunches (NOB), number of buttons (NOBT) and number of nuts (NON).
The various cross combinations (populations) studied were MGD x WAT (population 1), MYD x WAT (population 2) and MRD x WAT (population 3). Mean squares from the analysis of variance were significant (P< 0.01) for both palms and years for NOB, NOBT, NON and fruit setting percentage. The significant palms effect indicates that genetic variability existed among the palms, while the significant years mean squares suggested that climatic factors and other factors common to all environments, encounted for a proportion of the variation in the environment. The fruit setting percentage for the four years of investigation was 51.4% with a range between 48.2 – 54.3%. There was no significant difference in fruit setting percentage between the three populations. Maximum setting percentage was 54.3% in population 3, 51.7% in population 1 and 48.2% in population 2.
Keywords: Controlled natural pollination, Fruit setting percentage
Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and the Social Sciences Vol. 4 (2) 2006: pp. 190-195