Collection and evaluation of pearl millet (Pennisetum) germplasm from Malawi

Rao, S A and Mengesha, M H and Sibale, P K and Reddy, C R (1986) Collection and evaluation of pearl millet (Pennisetum) germplasm from Malawi. Economic Botany, 40 (1). pp. 27-37. ISSN 1874-9364

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A germplasm collecting trip to Malawi was launched during March/April 1979, resulting in the collection of 260 traditional cultivars of pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum), 11 intermediate forms, and 6 accessions of wild Pennisetum. Most of the cultivated pearl millet samples were obtained from the hot lowlands of the lower Shire Valley, with a few samples from the cool highlands of Mulanje and Mangochi. A mixture of different types that varied in plant height, maturity, and spike characters were observed in farmers’ fields. In the south, early types with loose, thin, cylindrical spikes and in the north, late-maturing types producing many tillers with stout spikes having long bristles were found. The grain is used to prepare a thick porridge, nsima, or to brew local beer, chimera. When the collection was evaluated at ICRISAT Center, Patancheru, considerable variation was observed for days to 50% flowering and plant height, but not for spike and grain characters. During the rainy season, the majority of the accessions flowered early (70 days), grew very tall (250 cm), and produced thin (22 mm), short (22 cm) spikes with small, obovate to elliptical, corneous grey grain. In the postrainy season, most of the accessions flowered a week earlier accompanied by reduction in plant height. Millet germplasm from Malawi belongs to the race typhoides and serves as a good source of genes for earliness, tillering, and corneous endosperm.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Depositing User: Mr Charan Sai Ch
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2011 10:28
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2011 10:28
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Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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