Solanum aethiopicum Shum group is a nutrient-rich and income-generating crop enterprise in various sub-Saharan Africa countries. Despite its importance, the development of its improved varieties has not been prioritized. Until now, no field-based descriptor development reference for the crop is available for testing candidate varieties for distinctiveness, uniformity and stability. The purpose of this study is to identify morphological variables that provide identity of S. aethiopicum Shum group accessions across environments. With ten accessions across three test locations, it was observed that the highly polymorphic morphological variables were majorly vegetative and a few reproductive ones. They include plant height at flowering, plant canopy breadth, plant branching, petiole color, petiole length, leaf blade length, leaf blade width, leaf lobbing, leaf tip angle, flowering time, style length, fruit position, fruit flesh density, fruits per inflorescence and fruit flavor. A static stability analysis, a common selection technique for obtaining consistence in performance of genotypes, showed that accessions varied in their interaction with environments for different descriptors. The most statically stable accessions were 184P and 163P while the least stables were 168P, 148, 141, and 137. The findings indicate the potential for identifying unique and stable varieties of S. aethiopicum Shum group for the processing of official release to farmers.
Key words: Polymorphic morphological markers; static stability coefficient; field characterization; Solanum aethiopicum Shum; genotype by environment interaction.
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