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Growth and Genetic Analysis of Pejibaye (Bactris Gasipaes Kunth, Palmae)in Hawai'i

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Title:Growth and Genetic Analysis of Pejibaye (Bactris Gasipaes Kunth, Palmae)in Hawai'i
Authors:Clement, Charles R.
Date Issued:1995
Abstract:Pejibaye or peach palm {Bactris gasipaes, Kunth) was introduced into Hawai’i to supply the gourmet market with fresh heart of palm. New crop introduction requires evaluation of crop adaptation to its new environment and planning for future development, including genetic improvement. Leaf number of open-pollinated Benjamin Constant (Putumayo landrace) progenies was lower at harvest (6-8) than elsewhere (8- 10), and offshoot number dropped dramatically from first harvest (6.5) to second harvest (2). Allometric equations for estimating whole plant leaf area and biomass were developed, using height and leaf number predictors. No significant plant population (density) effects on individual plant dimensions or growth were found over the range of 3333 to 6666 plants/ha. Relative growth rate (RGR) and unit leaf rate (E ^ between nursery and first harvest were highly correlated (r = -0.99 and -0.95, respectively) with earliness (days to harvest). The early progenies partitioned photoassimilates differently; two had high E^, while one had moderate E^ and partitioned preferentially to leaf area, resulting in a higher leaf area ratio. Heart of palm yields were close to 900 kg/ha after 12 months of harvest and 1400 kg/ha after 18 months, both comparable to tropical American yields. When edible stem and leaf were added to the yields, these increased to 2.8 and 4.5 t/ha of marketable product, respectively. Quantitative genetic analysis of growth parameters suggested high levels of inbreeding in the germplasm studied, since the narrow-sense heritabilities were double those observed in other perennials. Additive genetic variances for RGR and earliness suggested the potential for significant response to selection, but phenotypic variation varied depending on the interval over which RGR was estimated. The lowest estimate of RGR (over an entire development phase) provided the smallest response to selection but is similar to the response observed in other crops. Allozyme heterozygosity was remarkably low, ranging from 0.038 to 0.099, with a mean of 0.074, on par with inbred crops, rather than outbreeders. There was a lack of correlation between allozyme heterozygosity and growth parameters and morphological traits.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Horticulture

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