In faba bean, the degree of cross-fertilization and auto-fertility is a crucial character in any breeding program. The degree of cross- and auto-fertility of four faba cultivars were assessed at three locations in Sudan, using hilum colour as a morphological marker. The variation between the cultivars and between locations for the degree of cross-fertilization was extremely small, which ranged from 10.6 to 12.7%. The degree of auto-fertility was high in the four cultivars, reaching up to 88%, therefore, line cultivar could be produced. As line cultivar has a risk of low yield stability, the search for plant traits that attract pollinating insects could contribute to increase cross-fertilization and as a result heterosis could be used for the improvement of cultivars. Otherwise, the floral biology of the bean plant should be manipulated towards full autogamy.
Key words: Vicia faba L., breeding, cross-fertilization, auto-fertility, line cultivar, bee pollinator.
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