Quantitative characteristics of leaf, fruit and nut collected from Vitellaria paradoxa subsp. paradoxa growing in Kol, Kemkian and Matekaga located in the region of Mandoul of Southern Chad were analyzed. Our results reveal variation of the measured morphological parameters. The smallest lamina length (15.5 cm) was found in Kol and the longest (26.3 cm) in Matekaga. The biggest lamina width (5.4 cm) and nut length (3.8 cm) were found in Kol. Using the correlation matrix data, our investigations revealed that lamina length and peduncle length were correlated with 92%. Fruit width was correlated with peduncle length and fruit length with 52 and 83%, respectively. Nut length was correlated with peduncle length, fruit length and fruit width with 55, 78 and 77%, respectively. In contrast, nut length was correlated with fruit length, fruit width and nut length with 68, 78 and 87%, respectively. The dendrograms analyses revealed the existence of four groups within and between sites instead of the six ethno-varieties described by folk classification. These findings raise the need to use molecular markers to unravel the underlying variation for use in selection and genetic improvement of shea tree.
Key words: Vitellaria paradoxa, shea butter tree, morphological characters, folk classification, ethno-varieties, Chad.
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