Two-hundred and twenty-six old avocado trees (Persea americana Mill) derived from seeds were selected from eight districts of the Mbeya, Njombe and Songwe regions in Tanzania. The tree, leaf, fruit and seed characteristics were studied using the descriptors for avocado (Persea spp.) from the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute. Cross tabulation and Chi-square tests were conducted in order to assess the distribution of traits between districts and altitude ranges. Principle coordinate analysis (PCoA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) were used to assess variation of traits within and among districts. Various morphological features were observed among the samples which point to the existence of the Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian avocado races in Tanzania. The biplot from PCoA revealed extensive variation between the sampled trees at the district level but no clear groupings of the samples based on geographic location. Likewise, dendrograms ensuing from the neighbor–joining and Wards methods displayed that the avocado samples from the same district and even region differed considerably. This morphological trait variation suggests high diversity that may help in planning germplasm management and conservation, as well as breeding strategies in the future.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited