Morphological Characterization, Variability and Traits Association among Accessions of Three Species of Crassocephalum (Moench.) S. Moore from Nigeria
Crassocephalum species have served as vegetables for decades, yet they remain undomesticated and uncultivated. The knowledge of the variability and traits association of these species could enhance the improvement and thus facilitate their domestication and cultivation. Twenty-one accessions of Crassocephalum species were characterized in a Randomized Complete Block Design to determine intra and inter-specifies variability and traits association for their improvement with a view to facilitate their domestication and cultivation. One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and correlation coefficients were used to analyze the data. The results revealed significant intra and inter-specifies variability among the accessions characterized. The first three axes of PCA accounted for over 60% of total variation with leaf length, leaf width, days to 50% flowering, days to maturity, number of achenes/head and number of filled achenes/head as discriminants. Positive and significant phenotypic correlations were observed between leaf length and leaf width with petiole length, internode length, peduncle length, and number of days to maturity. High positive correlation was observed for number of capitula/plant with capitulum diameter and number of filled achenes per head. Hence, the principal contributors to total variation which are leaf length, leaf width, days to 50% flowering, days to maturity, number of achenes/head and number of filled achenes/head are hereby suggested to breeders in developing a suitable breeding programme for Crassocephalum crepidioides, C. rubens and C. togoense.
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