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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Genetic variation among and within populations of Cordia africana in seed size and germination responses to constant temperatures

Loha, Abraham; Tigabu, Mulualem; Fries, Anders


Cordia africana Lam. is a commercial timber species that grows naturally throughout sub-Saharan Africa and tropical Arabia. At present very little is known about genetic variation in this species and baseline information is needed to initiate improvement programs in Ethiopia. Thus, the objectives of the study were to quantify the inter- and intra-population variations in seed size traits and germination responses to different constant temperature regimes. Seeds were collected from 30 open-pollinated families within each of the five populations representing the natural distribution of the species in Ethiopia. To examine seed size variations, seed length, seed width, and 1,000-seed weight were quantified. Inter- and intra-population variations in seed germination were investigated under different constant temperature regimes from 20 to 35 degrees C in climate chambers. Significant variations in seed length, width and weight were detected both at inter- and intra-population levels, and family heritabilities of 0.63-0.76 showed that much of the phenotypic variation in seed size traits were additive genetic variation. Significant variation in germination was also found among and within populations as well as between the different constant temperature regimes. Generally the variation in germination was considerably higher within population than between populations. The optimal temperature for germination of C. africana seeds was 25-30 degrees C with family heritabilities for germination ranging between 0.20 and 0.33, depending on the germination temperature.


Ethiopia; Provenance; Germination capacity; Heritability; Seed weight

Published in

2009, Volume: 165, number: 1, pages: 189-196