Ontogenesis of West African Okra (Abelmoschus. Caillei (A.Chev) and Conventional Okra (Abelmoschus. esculentus (L. Moench) Varieties and its Effects on Fresh Pod Yield in Umudike in Southeastern Nigeria in 2009 and 2010 Cropping Seasons

Lawrence Chinatu, Peter Okocha, Mathias Eka


Ten elite varieties of A. caillei and A. esculentus were evaluated to understand their developmental phases and their impact on fresh pod yield in 2009 and 2010 cropping seasons at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, research farm. The field experiments were carried out in randomized complete block design with three replications. The seeds were planted in May, data collected from germination to end of life cycle were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANOVA showed that the species were the same (P>0.05) with respect to number of days from seed planting to germination, flowering to podding and hours from flower bud maturity to anthesis. The other stages in vegetative and reproductive phases were highly significantly different (P<0.01). Hence, A.caillei was completely different from A.esculentus. The vegetative phase of A.caillei lasted longer than the entire life cycle of A.esculentus, that by the time A.esculentus started flowering, A. caillei had been harvested. The reproductive phase of A.caillei also lasted longer than the life cycle of A.esculentus. These influenced the significantly (P<0.05) higher and heavier number of pods/ plant produced by A.caillei, such that NGAE-96-012-1 and NGAE-96-0067 (A. caillei varieties) fresh pod yields / hectare were two times the fresh pod yield of NGB/06/080 (A.esculentus with highest fresh pod yield/hectare) in 2009 and 2010. NGAE-96-012-1 and NGAE-96-0067 could be released to farmers in Umudike to boost fresh pod production and improve their well-being, NGB/06/080 could also replace the commonly planted Clemson spineless (A. esculentus variety). A.esculentus could be planted in August to synchronize flowering in both species for effective hybridization to improve okra yield by plant breeders.

Keywords:Ontogenesis, okra species, vegetative and reproductive phases, yield, humid tropics.

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