Morphological characterization and selection of castor bean accessions for mechanized production
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Castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) is an oilseed found in different regions worldwide, due to its easy propagation and adaptability. Cropping more productive disease-resistant genotypes that enable a mechanized production ensures greater economic returns for fanners. This study aimed to morphologically characterize and select promising castor bean accessions for mechanized cropping, mainly as a source of genetic variability for breeding programs with this purpose. Fifty accessions were assessed. Analysis of variance, dissimilarity clustering via the unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) and principal component analysis were used to analyze the collected data. The dissimilarity analysis based on the Gower distance for qualitative and quantitative variables revealed three groups of accessions and the principal component analysis enabled the selection of those with desirable traits. The accessions BOC1, PRAT1 and SM2 exhibited morphoagronomic characteristics of interest to the mechanized production, such as ideal plant height, diameter, seed weight and oil content. Such genotypes show a potential for use as genitors in genetic breeding programs of castor bean.