African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 631

Full Length Research Paper

In-situ morphological characterization of coconut in the Coastal Lowlands of Kenya

Maurice E. Oyoo*
  • Maurice E. Oyoo*
  • Egerton University, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soil Sciences, P.O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Muhammed Najya
  • Muhammed Najya
  • Pwani University, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, P.O Box 195-80108, Kilifi, Kenya.
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Stephen M. Githiri
  • Stephen M. Githiri
  • Jomo Kenya University of Agriculture and Technology, Horticulture Department, P.O. Box 62000-00200 Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Pascal O. Ojwang
  • Pascal O. Ojwang
  • Egerton University, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soil Sciences, P.O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Francis K. Muniu
  • Francis K. Muniu
  • Kenya Agricultural Research Institute P.O Box 16-80109 Mtwapa, Kenya.
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Emmanuel Masha
  • Emmanuel Masha
  • Kenya Coconut Development Authority, P.O. Box 84351, Nkrumah Rd Mombasa, Kenya.
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James O. Owuoche
  • James O. Owuoche
  • Egerton University, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soil Sciences, P.O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 17 June 2014
  •  Accepted: 21 January 2015
  •  Published: 28 February 2015

Abstract

Characterization of in situ coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) genotypes using morphological descriptors is of primary importance for genetic resources. Variations in five traits were recorded on 48 selected coconut palms located at 0 to 177 m above sea level in the Coastal Lowlands of Kenya. The objective of our study was to characterize coconut palms in the coastal Kenya using morphological markers. Data was recorded on palms that included tall, dwarf and hybrid varieties. Data was analyzed using Genstat Ver 14.2 software. Phylogenetic tree construction, using the neighbour joining method, revealed that the germplasm fell into three major clusters comprising of 2, 25 and 21 genotypes, respectively. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the first component (CP1) accounted for 65.54% of the total variation and was associated with the number of green leaves. The second component (PC2) explained 19.71% of the total variation and was associated with stem height. The results from this study indicate that morphological variation for coconut germplasm at the Kenyan coast exists for both qualitative and quantitative characters. Coconut palms did not cluster on the basis of their origin based on the counties grown.

 

Key words: Morphological characterization, Cocos nucifera L., variation, genetic resources, genetic diversity, cluster analysis.