Avocado plant propagation in Colombia is done by grafting commercial materials, such as ‘Hass’, ‘Lorena’, ‘Choquette’, ‘Fuerte’, ‘Reed’, and ‘Trinidad’, among others, onto rootstocks produced from sexual seed from Creole and ‘Hass’ trees. These seeds can be obtained in local markets or in avocado-producing areas located in contrasting agroecological regions without well-defined selection criteria. This work aimed to characterize the morphological variability of 80 seed-donor avocado (Persea americana Mill.) trees for rootstock production in three producing areas of Colombia. Thirty-nine morphological descriptors were evaluated for characterization, including qualitative and quantitative characters of plants, leaves, fruits and seeds. Multiple factorial analysis detected high morphological variability in fruit and seed characteristics in the three avocado-producing zones, while cluster analysis allowed the identification of three fully formed groups, so it was not possible to discriminate groups of trees by area of origin. With the results obtained, it was possible to determine a wide phenotypic divergence in the analyzed seed-donor trees, where 80 % of them presented outstanding physical characteristics of seeds for rootstock production.
Persea americana Mill., West Indian avocado, genetic variability, IPGRI descriptors.