Submitted to: Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/3/2004
Publication Date: 2/10/2006
Citation: Jaradat, A.A., Shahid, M.A. Patterns of phenotypic variation in a germplasm collection of Carthamus tinctorius L. from the Middle East. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 53:225-244. Interpretive Summary: Safflower is endemic to, and of some importance as an oil crop in, the Middle East. A collection of 630 accessions from 12 countries in the Middle East was characterized for 20 phenological, morphological and yield-related traits, as well as for tolerance to salinity. Oil-, forage- and ornamental-types were identified in the collection. Late maturing genotypes, with tall, spineless stems and branches, and red flowers were predominant. However, spiny and highly variable genotypes were identified in the collection. Accessions with high oil content were less salt tolerant than the forage-type accessions. Further improvement in oil content and yield, especially of the salt tolerant genotypes will benefit resource-poor farmers and help utilize saline water and soil resources in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Technical Abstract: Phenotypic diversity was estimated for 20 vegetative and reproductive traits in a safflower germplasm collection of 630 accessions from 12 Middle Eastern countries. Accessions were clustered in nine distinct groups based on all vegetative and reproductive traits, as well as their tolerance to salinity. Thermal time to flowering, rosette period and physiological maturity were among the most diverse traits in the collection. Oil-, forage-, and ornamental-types were identified and constituted 65, 27 and 8% of the collection, respectively. These three groups have distinct phenological and morphological characteristics; however, about 20% of the forage-type had approximately similar oil content as the oil-type accessions. The forage-type accessions, with profuse branching and long vegetative growth stage, were the most tolerant to salinity. Accessions were selected based on the overall phenotypic diversity and tolerance to salinity for further development as source for oil, forage and food coloring germplasm.