Morphological variation in wild annual Cicer species in comparison to the cultigen
- Cite this article as:
- Robertson, L., Ocampo, B. & Singh, K. Euphytica (1997) 95: 309. doi:10.1023/A:1003004516921
Wild species have been exploited for the transfer of useful genes in most of the major crops, but little has been done in chickpea improvement. Therefore, 228 accessions of eight annual wild Cicer species plus 20 domesticated kabuli chickpea lines were evaluated for 23 vegetative, flower, fruit and seed descriptors at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Syria, during 1993/94 to identify useful variations. Large differences between the cultivated and the annual wild taxa were found, especially for leaf area, growth habit, plant height, first pod height, pod dehiscence and 100-seed weight. These findings suggest that these traits underwent major changes during domestication. Although only a small sample of the cultigen was included in this study, C. arietinum showed greater morphological variability compared with the wild taxa. Among the wild taxa, C. reticulatum, C. echinospermum and C. bijugum had the largest variability and were also morphologically closest to the cultigen. Overall, the annual wild Cicer species were of no advantage for direct genetic improvement of agronomic traits in chickpea. Nevertheless, interesting variability was found for a few descriptors: wide leaflets in C. chorassanicum; many branches in C. bijugum and C. reticulatum; and early flowering in C. judaicum.