Metroglyph analysis of morphological variation in maize grown in Kashmir

The present investigation attempts to classify 15 local maize varieties (Table 1) into morphologically distinct complexes. The results of the metroglyph analysis are presented in Figure 1 while class intervals and index values for 12 characters appear in Table 2.

The varieties could be separated into 3 distinct complexes (Fig. 1). Complex I is comprised of 2 varieties (Table 1) having orange flint grains. One of the varieties (Tchi II) possessed one short ray while Voz. IA was without any ray.

The main characteristics of this complex were minimum number of leaves and tassel branches per plant; low grain moisture, tassel length from flag leaf, plant height, leaf index, shelling percentage and ear height. These varieties also required less days to 75 percent silking and had medium number of ears per plant.

Complex II is comprised of 9 varieties out of which Mish IIC, Fero VB had dent grains and the other 7 had flint grains. The grain colour varied from white (55.5%), yellow white (11.2%) to orange (33.3%). The varieties of this complex possessed a minimum of 3 rays each and were characterized by having low plant height and a minimum number of leaves and ears per plant. The rest of these characters were classed as medium.

Complex III contained 4 varieties. Excepting Badh V all had flint grains which were either white or orange in colour (50% each). Each variety was represented by a minimum of 9 rays. Except for higher percentage of grain moisture at harvest, varieties within this complex possessed medium characters.

Comparison of complexes revealed similar behaviour between Complexes II and III for leaf-index, number of tassel branches per plant, shelling percentage, tassel length from flag leaf and number of ears per plant whereas Complexes I and II and Complexes I and III were similar for number of ears per plant. Complex II emerged as an intermediate complex between Complexes I and III. Collections in Complex I had flint grains whereas both flint and dent grain types appeared in Complexes II and III.

The varieties that do not have flowering time overlapping with others are bound to retain their identity as no gene exchange will take place from one population to another. In the present study Tchi II is a pertinent example to quote. This variety was distinctly more early maturing than the rest of the Tchi varieties in the first place and secondly than all other varieties included in the present study (excepting Voz. IA). This variety is represented on the glyph only by 1 ray while all other Tchi varieties have more than 2 rays. Variety Voz. IA was without a ray (Complex I) thereby showing that this variety is closer to Tchi III. Incidentally the latest maturing variety was also from the Tchi group, i.e., Tchi III (Complex III), which was later flowering than 10 of the 15 varieties. The next early flowering variety was Badh IIA (Complex II), which was significantly earlier than 11 of the 15 varieties. Tchi III and Badh IIA (latest and next early) did not show a consistent significant difference either from their own groups or the rest of the varieties in all the characters (excepting number of leaves per plant). It may be due to the fact that some gene exchange did take place through some late flowering plants of early flowering populations and early flowering plants of flowering populations. Also, early maturity varieties (Tchi II and Voz. IA) have minimum ear length (9.1 cm) and ear diameter (2.7 cm) and required less days to silk, while the late maturing varieties (Tchi III, Badh V, Badh IV, Badh VA and Kani IVB) had maximum ear length (16.2 cm), ear diameter (4.0 cm) and required more days to silk.

Early maturing hybrids are generally adapted to semiarid agriculture. From the present study this picture emerged from the maturity of Tchi II and Badh IIA. It is worth mentioning here that maize in Kashmir is generally a rain fed crop, more particularly in areas like Pahalgam, Shopian and Tangmarg. Both of the above mentioned varieties that were early maturing were from one such area, i.e., Shopian. The latest maturity variety, i.e., Tchi III from Mahind, was observed at the time of collection to be growing totally under irrigated conditions.

Tables and Figure.

R.N. Jotshi, B.K. Bhat and M.K. Blian

Please Note: Notes submitted to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter may be cited only with consent of the authors.

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