Phenotypic Variation in Hibiscus Species Obtained From West Nile, Eastern, and Northern Uganda
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Hibiscus sabdariffa a crop that’s adapted to the warm climate of Africa offers a great economic potential is not yet explored due to lack of information on its distribution, collection, and genetic diversity. Little variability is reported in the local genotypes to merit trait improvement. The objective of this study is to evaluate the morphological traits and yield performance of the selected Hibiscus genotypes and characterize them for these traits which will later be used by breeders to improve the germplasm of Hibiscus sabdariffa in Uganda. Four genotypes collected from Eastern (Eastern red and Eastern green), West Nile and Northern Uganda were field evaluated in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications and morphological, development, growth and yield parameters were evaluated for variations. The data summarized, subjected to Analysis of variance (ANOVA) using R studio and ANOVA used to test for differences LSD at 5% significant level. Parameter days to 50% flowering was highest in genotype Northern and lowest in genotype Eastern Red. Plant height, branch number, leaf number, petiole length, leaf length-breadth ratio showed significant differences, with genotype Eastern red recording the highest plant height, petiole length, fresh weight and dry weight. While West Nile had the most number of leaves and number of branches. The morphological traits were significantly different among the genotypes except leaf color which was not significantly different, leaf dry matter content was not significantly different as well. Therefore, a large variability resides in Hibiscus sabdariffa genotypes in Uganda. This variability is indicative of a rich diversity which may be harnessed for improvement in the agronomic, economic and quality traits through selection.