The use of genetic divergence as a basis for identifying superior individuals, with greater heterozygosity, is important in view of the difficulty when selecting of dissimilar genotypes exhibiting high average for interest traits. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic divergence and the expression of seed production traits in seventeen apomictic Paspalum plicatulum × Paspalum guenoarum hybrids and two male parents (P. guenoarum). A randomized block design was used, with genotypes individually arranged into ten blocks. The following traits were assessed: total number of tillers/plant (TT), reproductive tiller/plant (RT), number of racemes per inflorescence (NRI), reproductive tiller height (RTH), inflorescence rachis length (IRL), number of seeds/inflorescence (NSI), weight of a thousand seeds (WTS) and seed production (SP). Genetic divergence among the genotypes was estimated using the Tocher method and UPGMA clustering, based on the generalized Mahalanobis distance (D2 ii’). The Tocher and UPGMA optimization methods showed high concordance. The traits that most contributed to genetic divergence were RTH (23.59%), IRL (21.63%), WTS (16.67%) and SP (14.23%). The presence of genetic diversity made it possible to identify divergent genotypes and those with high means for the traits studied, allowing the selection of genotypes with significant breeding potential. Repeated cross-breeding of female superior plants with the genotypes Azulão and H20 can result in a high heterosis effect on seed production characteristics.
Clustering analyses; seed yield components; P. plicatulum; P. guenoarum.