, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 267–278 | Cite as

Variation for agronomic characteristics in Crambe hispanica, a wild relative of Crambe abyssinica

  • J. H. Mulder
  • H. D. Mastebroek


In order to assess the potential of Crambe hispanica, either in breeding programmes of C. abyssinica or as an oilseed crop in itself, 36 accessions of C. hispanica (29 of var. hispanica and 7 of var. glabrata) were grown in a greenhouse and evaluated for morphological characteristics, earliness, plant habit, seed characteristics and fatty acid composition. Four lines of C. abyssinica were included for reference. The 29 accessions of var. hispanica showed significant variation for all observed characteristics. Besides morphological characteristics, large variation was found for earliness, number of primary branches, seed yield, 1000 seed weight and volume, and linoleic, linolenic and erucic acid content. Morphological characteristics, earliness and plant habit did not show any high correlations with seed characteristics or fatty acid composition, except for seed hull (pericarp) mottling, which was related to a high oil and erucic acid content. The seven accessions of var. glabrata showed little variation. The large genetic variation in combination with promising figures for several characteristics, found in C. hispanica, may be useful in breeding programmes of the oilseed crop C. abyssinica, for which the available genetic variation is limited. Prospects of selection for high-erucic acid genotypes are discussed. Compared to C. abyssinica, both botanical varieties of C. hispanica are characterized by a cordate shape of the basal leaves, lack of seed retention and a lower DNA content. Plants of var. glabrata differed from var. hispanica in a sparsely hispid upper leaf surface and round stems and branches covered with a waxy layer. These clear differences and lack of success in intercrossing both varieties of C. hispanica strongly suggest that their taxonomic classification should be reconsidered.

Key words

Crambe abyssinica Crambe hispanica erucic acid fatty acid composition oil content variation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Mulder
    • 1
  • H. D. Mastebroek
    • 1
  1. 1.DLO-Centre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research (CPRO-DLO)WageningenThe Netherlands

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