Genetic Structure of Pejibaye Heart of Palm Yield Precocity at an Ideal Site in Hawai'i

in HortScience

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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