Morphological Variation in Selected Accessions of Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea L. Verdc) in South Africa

  •  Amara Unigwe    
  •  Abe Gerrano    
  •  Patrick Adebola    
  •  Michael Pillay    


Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea L. Verdc) is an underutilized crop in the African continent. It is a drought tolerant crop and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. Bambara groundnut is primarily grown for the protein content of its seeds and is mainly produced by small scale farmers at subsistence level. The objective of the study was to assess the morphological variation of landraces of bambara groundnut in South Africa. Thirty accessions of bambara groundnut were evaluated for their variability in agronomic and morphological traits. The field experiment was conducted at ARC-VOPI in Roodeplaat research farm during the 2014/2015 summer cropping season. The field trial was arranged as a complete randomized block design with three replications. Eighteen quantitative traits were recorded to estimate the level of genetic variability among accessions. The analysis of variance revealed significant differences among the phenotypic traits evaluated. The UPGMA cluster analysis based on the quantitative traits produced four distinct groups of genotypes and a singleton. Genotypes SB11-1A, SB19-1A, SB12-3B and Bambara-12 were found to possess good vegetative characters and are recommended for use as suitable parents when breeding cultivars for fodder production. Desirable yield and yield-related traits were identified in B7-1, SB4-4C, SB19-1A, Bambara-12 and SB16-5A and are recommended as suitable parental lines for bambara groundnut grain production improvement. The phenotypic characters therefore provide a useful measure of genetic variability among bambara genotypes and will enable the identification of potential parental materials for future breeding programs in South Africa.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.