The scarlet eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum L.) is an African traditional vegetable grown for its edibles leaves and fruits, which can contribute to food security in Republic of Benin. However, very little information is available on the genetic variability of this vegetable for varietal improvement purposes. Sixty accessions of scarlet eggplants collected throughout 52 villages in Benin republic were characterized using 34 (10 qualitative and 24 quantitative) variables. The experiment was laid out using complete randomized block design with three replications on the experimental site of Massi. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) analysis revealed 18 discriminating quantitative variables. A strong correlation was observed between plant height, number of fruits per plant, fruit diameter, fruit weight and number of seeds per fruit. A cluster phenogram divided the 60 accessions into three groups corresponding to Kumba (Cluster 1), Gilo (Cluster 2), and Shum groups (Cluster 3). These groups differed by the number of seeds per fruit, weight of fruits, diameter of fruits, number of fruits per plant, plants height at flowering stage, plants length, and plant width. Accessions Samibi, Ikangougou, Kannan and Yètchanmiyé with the highest fruit weight per plant can be used as parents in the framework of a scarlet eggplant breeding program in Republic of Benin.
Key words: Benin, accessions, traits diversity, breeding program.
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