Genetic Variation in a Safflower Germplasm Grown in Rainfed Cold Drylands
ABSTRACT The main breeding objective in growing field crops under rainfed condition is the selection for high performance lines. Traits that are correlated with grain yield may be useful for indirect selection. Genetic variation and correlations for eight agronomically important characters were studied across 45 selected exotic and indigenous safflower pure lines in the Dryland Agricultural Research Institute during two consecutive growing seasons. There was a considerable variation with regard to all characteristics under study in the spring planting. The observed range for plant height (cm), average number of heads per plant, days to flowering, average number of seeds per head, 100 seed weight (g), grain yield (kg ha-1), oil percent and the ratio of kernel to hull were, 61-86, 5-16, 116-134, 10-66, 3.1-5.2, 211-1117, 21.4-31.7 and 0.74-1.44, respectively. Correlation studies indicated that only the average number of seeds per head has a significant positive relationship with grain yield. However, there was a negative significant correlation between grain yield and days to flowering. Genetic gains may be achieved in the future by augmenting number of seeds per head, while increasing earliness of safflower in cold drylands of Iran should also have a beneficial effect on grain yield.