The pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes Kunth) is being evaluated in Hawai'i for its fresh heart of palm, a gourmet vegetable. Seven half-sib progenies of the Putumayo land race were planted in a split-plot design, with densities (3333, 5000, 6666 plants/ha) as the main plots, progenies as the sub-plots, three replications, and nine plants/plot. Precocity was defined as “days from planting to harvest”; relative growth rate (RGR) and unit leaf rate (Ea) are possible causes of precocity and were estimated for the period from 6 months after planting to harvest. Density effects were never significant, suggesting that competition is not significant before harvest. Mean precocity ranged from 610 to 712 days; Va accounted for 14% of the phenotypic variance (Vp), with h2 = 0.57, similar to fruiting precocity in African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). Mean Ea ranged from 1.89 to 2.21 g/m2 per day, Va accounted for 8% of Vp, with h2 = 0.33 Mean RGR ranged from 0.0086 to 0.0102 d–1; Va accounted for 9% of Vp, with h2 = 0 35 Neither RGR (r = 0.20) nor Ea (r = 0.19) are significantly correlated with precocity. Heart, edible stem, and total edible product weights did not present significant progeny effects, probably because of the criterion used to determine harvest (height = 1.3 m). Precocity is easiest to work with and should give acceptable genetic gains.
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