In a world lentil collection the distribution of variation amongst accessions from 13 major lentil-producing countries was examined on the basis of nine quantitative morphological characters by discriminant analysis and canonical analysis. Stepwise discriminant analysis revealed major differences between accessions from different countries. Three major regional groups were apparent: 1) a levantine group (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, 2) a more northern group composed of Greece, Iran, Turkey, and USSR, and 3) accessions from India and Ethiopia with strikingly similar quantitative morphological characters. Misclassifications of individuals within groups were frequent. Characters useful in discriminating between accessions from different countries were in descending order of importance: time to maturity, lowest pod height and 100-seed weight. The regional grouping indicates the importance of local adaptation through clusters of associated characters with phenological adaptation to the ecological environment as the major evolutionary force in the species.
Lens culinarislentil variation germplasm geographical distribution