An Assessment of Variation, Correlation and Genetic Distance in Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb) Accessions



Analysis of genetic diversity in germplasm collections can facilitate reliable classification of accessions as well as identification of subsets of core accessions with possible utility for specific breeding purposes. To investigate the pattern of genetic variation in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb) germplasm, a field experiment was accordingly conducted. Seeds of 25 Iranian, 11 Hungarian, one American as well as one Polish accession were germinated in a greenhouse. After a lapes of 3 months, seedlings were transported to field and plants surveyed in a randomized complete block design of three replications. Significant differences were observed for all the characters indicating broad variation in germplasm. Genotypic coefficients of variability for forage hay yield and for number of stems were 57.7 and 29.1 respectively showing a high rate of variation. Estimates of broad sense heritability for height, date of inflorescence emergence and pollination were recorded higher than 85 and for crown diameter as 40.37 percent. Correlation coefficients of hay yield with date of inflorescence emergence and pollination were observed as negative and with height and number of stems as significantly positive. Also, correlation coefficients for date of inflorescence emergence and pollination with plant height and number of stems were significantly negative showing tillering and height as two major components affecting hay yield. Applying WARD method of cluster analysis on the studied attributes, three groups of clusters were obtained. Accessions from same country were clustered in a same cluster. As regards the morphological characters, the least and the most similar accessions were identified to be further employed in the future breeding projects.