Leaf and fruit characteristics of Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) in Northern Ghana


Leaf and fruit parameters of Vitellaria paradoxa populations in north-south gradient of the shea belt in the transitional and Guinea Savanna zones of Ghana were compared during the fruiting season between April to July, 2011. Leaf morphological traits studied include laminar width, petiole and laminar lengths. Fruit parameters measured include fruit and kernel widths, lengths, weights and pulp weight. Results showed variability for most of the characters determined. The leaves in Paga had shorter petioles as compared to those of Nyankpala and Kawampe. The Nyankpala V. paradoxa has the smallest laminar width whilst Kawampe has longest leaf laminar ascompared to the rest. Values for fruit and kernel parameters were highest for samples from Paga, followed by Kawampe and were significantly higher than those from Nyankpala. There were significant positive relationships between fresh fruit weight and both fresh kernel weight (P < 0.001; R2 = 0.6925) and dry kernel weight (P < 0.001; R2 = 0.6532) for data pooled from all the three locations, however, the slopes and intercepts varied between locations (P < 0.001). The result from the study provides opportunities and prospects for selection and breeding for V. paradoxa tree improvement in Ghana.

Research in Plant Biology 2(3): 38-45