Fritillaria roylei Hook. (Liliacece) is an important medicinal herb of the Astavarga group, distributed in sub-alpine to alpine regions of the Himalayas. Its bulbs are an important constituent of many medicines and health tonics. Over exploitation for medicinal uses has decreased the availability of F. roylei in natural habitats and brought this species into endangered, making conservation and cultivation studies necessary. Variability studies may serve as an important tool for effective conservation and for a crop improvement program. Therefore, natural populations of Garhwal Himalaya were analyzed for variability on the basis of morphological, biochemical and isoenzyme patterns. The studied populations were grouped into three clusters based on D2 values. Geographical isolation is responsible for variability among these populations. Existing variability among different populations opens up new areas for conservation and perspectives for a genetic improvement program of F. roylei.
Key words: Astavarga group, cluster composition, crop improvement, D2 statistics, endangered plant, isoenzyme.
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