Morphoagronomic variation in natural populations of Trifolium riograndense (Burkart)

Variação morfoagronômica em populações naturais de Trifolium riograndense (Burkart)

Several species of Trifolium are widely cultivated as forage for animals and green manure. This work aimed to characterize and estimate through morphological and agronomic traits the genetic diversity of natural populations of T. riograndense, an important forage legume from native pastures of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Plant height and diameter, number of primary and secondary stolons, stolon length, number of nodes per primary stolon, internode length, primary stolon diameter, leaf area, petiole length and dry matter production were analyzed in 29 accessions. The first five attributes and dry matter production were evaluated twice. A broad phenotypic variability was observed for almost all characteristics. Positive correlations occurred between petiole length and leaf area (r = 0.68), petiole length and plant height in the first evaluation (0.63), stolon length and plant height (0.58), total dry matter and plant diameter (0.61), and total dry matter and plant height in the second evaluation (0.55). The two most divergent accessions were collected in the same physiographic region and the two less divergent ones in different regions. A dissimilarity dendrogram separated four groups. Accessions collected in a region where T. riograndense is abundant were found to belong to different groups outlining the great variability of this native forage legume. Dry matter production in the first cut was the characteristic that most contributed (20.80%) to accessions divergence followed by number of secondary stolons (12.30%), leaf area (11.07%), and number of nodes per primary stolon (10.93%).

forage legume; genetic variability; morphology; plant breeding

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