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Domestication of jute mallow (Corchorus olitorius L.): ethnobotany, production constraints and phenomics of local cultivars in Ghana

Nyadanu, D., Adu Amoah, R., Kwarteng, A. O., Akromah, R., Aboagye, L. M., Adu-Dapaah, H., Dansi, A., Lotsu, F., Tsama, A.
Genetic resources and crop evolution 2017 v.64 no.6 pp. 1313-1329
Corchorus olitorius, anorexia, branches, common names, cultivars, domestication, essential amino acids, ethnobotany, farmers, fever, functional foods, germplasm, jute, leaves, pain, parents, phenomics, proteins, provenance, quantitative traits, stomach, surveys, waist, Ghana
Jute mallow rich in proteins, vitamins and essential amino acids is an important leafy vegetable in Africa. Ethno-botanical knowledge on the crop in Ghana has been only incompletely documented and little is known about variation and diversity of local accessions. In order to document available ethnobotanical knowledge and investigate diversity of local accessions, 4000 farmers in twenty districts were surveyed using participatory rapid appraisal tools and techniques. 50 accessions of local germplasm were collected from these districts. Using randomized complete block design with three replications, the 50 accessions collected were characterized based on 12 quantitative and 6 qualitative traits. Results of the survey recorded several vernacular names of the crop and their meaning referring to the slimy nature of the leaves. Some local cultivars which were known in the past are no longer cultivated in farmers’ field suggesting genetic erosion of jute mallow in Ghana. Apart from food, respondents use jute mallow to treat fever, waist pain, stomach problems and loss of appetite indicating nutraceutical potential of the crop. Hierarchical cluster analysis grouped the accessions into four distinct clusters and individuals from the same geographical origin were separately classified. Quantitative traits such as leaf length, number of branches per plant, and number of leaves/plant defined the first principal component. Accessions Cagric 26, Cagric 28, Cagric 41, Cagric 08 and Cagric 01 recorded high yields. These accessions could serve as parents for breeding of improved cultivars.