Agro-morphological characterization of horned melon (Cucumis metuliferus) accessions from selected agro-ecological zones in Kenya
Owino, Marline H.
Gichimu, Bernard M.
Muturi, Phyllis W.
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Morphological characterization of genotypes is fundamental in providing information on their genetic status to guide on their conservation and improvement. The objective of this study was to determine agro-morphological diversity within horned melon in Kenya. The study was carried out in two seasons at the University of Embu in Kenya. The study characterized 19 horned melon accessions collected from different agro-ecological zones in Eastern, Central and Western regions in Kenya. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Morphological characterization of the accessions was based on melon descriptors from International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) with slight modifications. Significant differences were observed in all the quantitative traits except the number of branches and main vine length. However, qualitative variations were only observed in fruit shape, rind colour and seed shape. Principle Component Analysis (PCA) showed that fruit weight, main vine length and days to maturity had the highest contribution to the observed diversity. Cluster analysis separated the accessions into seven groups with between classes diversity of 79.20% and within classes diversity of 20.80%. The diversity observed can be exploited by plant breeders for genetic improvement of the crop.