Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) seed harvested while it is immature is a nutritious vegetable and forms a substitute for green pea [Pisum sativum (L.)]. Using the characterization data of more than 12,000 accessions conserved at ICRISAT genebank, Patancheru, India, 105 accessions were selected for important traits of vegetable pigeonpea (mature pod length>6 cm, seeds per pod>5 and 100-seed weight>15 g) and evaluated for these traits during 2007–08. From the initial evaluation, 51 accessions were identified as vegetable type and further evaluated for traits of vegetable pigeonpea during 2008–09 to identify most promising accessions. ICP 13831 produced longest immature pods (10.3 cm), ICP 13828 had maximum number of seeds per pod (5.9) and ICP 12746 produced larger seeds (44.8 g/100 seeds). Highest percentage of total soluble sugars (9.7%) was recorded in immature seeds of ICP 13413. ICP 15143 followed by ICP 15186 recorded more dry pods per plant and seed yield per plant. Performance of ICP 12184, ICP 13413, ICP 14085 and ICP 15169 was better than that of the best control for pod length, seeds per pod, soluble sugars and protein content. Cluster analysis based on scores of first five principal components resulted in three clusters that differed significantly for days to 50% flowering, days to 75% maturity, shelling percentage and soluble sugars. Important traits of vegetable pigeonpea such as immature pod length, seeds per pod, seed soluble sugars and protein content had shown strong positive correlation. Caribbean and Eastern Africa were found as the best source regions for vegetable pigeonpea. Evaluation of selected accessions at potential locations in different countries was suggested to identify vegetable pigeonpeas suitable for different regions and for use in crop improvement programs.
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