Phenotypic diversity within native Iranian almond (Prunus spp.) species and their breeding potential

  • K. Sorkheh
  • B. Shiran
  • V. Rouhi
  • E. Asadi
  • H. Jahanbazi
  • H. Moradi
  • T. M. Gradziel
  • P. Martínez-Gómez
Research Article


A total of 137 accessions from 18 wild almond species were collected from Iran and leaf and fruit traits were characterized. Also evaluated were flowering and ripening date, self-incompatibility and kernel bitterness. An extensive phenotypic diversity was found both among and within species. Differences in average leaf dimensions among and within species were associated with average rainfall but not altitude of collection site. Adjacent accessions located in drier areas had smaller leaf dimensions than those located in semi-humid or humid regions. No relation was found between average fruit dimensions and collection site conditions. Principal component analysis revealed that the nut weight and width, and the kernel weight had highest loading in the first component accounting for 45.8% of total variation. In contrast, leaf traits in the second component accounted for 22.3% of total variation. No significant correlations were detected between leaf dimensions and fruit traits in all species evaluated. Results document a rich source of new germplasm for almond improvement programs. Small fruit size, pollen-pistil self-incompatibility, and bitter kernel flavour are the most common obstacles to the utilization of this wild germplasm in breeding.


Bitterness Breeding Diversity index Drought resistance Frost resistance Germplasm Morphological diversity Pest resistance Prunus dulcis Self-incompatibility 



The authors offer grateful thanks to Shahrekord University for financial assistance, as well as to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Center of Shahrekord, and to the Karj collection for access to trees. Thanks are also due to Dr. Ali Vezvaei for helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript and H. Hakimei for information assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Sorkheh
    • 1
  • B. Shiran
    • 1
  • V. Rouhi
    • 1
  • E. Asadi
    • 2
  • H. Jahanbazi
    • 3
  • H. Moradi
    • 4
  • T. M. Gradziel
    • 5
  • P. Martínez-Gómez
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of AgricultureShahrekord UniversityShahrekordIran
  2. 2.Department of Natural Resources, Faculty of AgricultureShahrekord UniversityShahrekordIran
  3. 3.Section of Natural ResourcesAgriculture and Natural Resources Research Center of ShahrekordShahrekordIran
  4. 4.Section of HorticultureAgriculture and Natural Resources Research Center of ShahrekordShahrekordIran
  5. 5.Department of Plant ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  6. 6.Department of Plant BreedingCEBAS-CSICEspinardo, MurciaSpain

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