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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 80 (3) 139-144 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2015/80.3.7
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2015 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Identification of superior almond Prunus dulcis genotypes from a germplasm field in Iran

A. Khadivi-Khub and E. Osati
Department of Horticultural Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arak University, Arak, Iran

Almond is one of the most important fruit crops and the most important in the genus Prunus. Iran, due to a diverse variability in geographical regions such as mountain ranges and deserts spreading throughout the country and therefore diverse kinds of climates, is one of the origins of almond. In the current investigation, 174 almond genotypes were characterized using morphological traits to detect superior trees. Analysis of variance and coefficient of variation (CV) showed a high variability in the evaluated genotypes and significant differences were found between them for most of trait. Nut and kernel characters contributed most to the total variation. Also, the considered genotypes had significant differences in flowering and ripening time. Results from simple correlation analysis showed significant positive and negative correlations for certain important characteristics. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed high discrimination capabilities of variables measured. Genotypes 20, 119, 116, 43, 145, 168 and 171 were the best trees in terms of consistent high fruit set, large nut, large kernel, and late flowering time which can be singled out for cultivation. Furthermore, genotypes 28, 33, 129 and 171 were very-late flowering and could be useful as parents to cross for generating appropriate late flowering population or to improve flowering season of cultivars. Furthermore, two key variables including kernel weight and nut weight were the main variables accounting for kernel percentage and they should be considered together in breeding.

Keywords Prunus dulcis, phenotypic characters, principal component, fruit quality, kernel percentage

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • The almond tree is of great importance throughout the world due to high nutritive values of nut and its favorable effects on human health. Spring frost resistance is a major breeding goal in many production areas. Also, high kernel quality is a desirable economic trait for almond.
What are the new findings?
  • Among the studied almond germplasm, seven genotypes were the best trees in terms of consistent high fruit set, large nut, large kernel, and late flowering time which can be singled out for cultivation. Kernel weight and nut weight were the main variables accounting for kernel percentage.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • The results will be useful for collections, conservation and almond breeding programs. The investigation provided suitable data for focusing future studies with the aim to develop almond cultivars for sustainable production. The cultivation of the promising genotypes can increase quantitative and qualitative yield of almond.

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Received: 23 September 2014 | Revised: 25 November 2014 | Accepted: 9 December 2014 | Published: 17 June 2015 | Available online: 17 June 2015

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