Unavailability of high quality varieties is one of the constraints in commercial durian production. A program to collect durian germplasm was initiated at Horana. Fruits from 26 seedling trees were evaluated for fruit weight, number of arils, number of seeds, weight of husk and seeds using six fruit per tree. Aril size, seed size, % rind, % seed and % aril were calculated. Aril color, flavor and overall acceptability were also recorded with a panel test. Results showed high variability in fruit quality traits exists among trees. Highest variability was found in number of seeds per fruit (CV=36.2%) while % rind showed the lowest variability (CV=7.26%). Number of seeds varied from 3.7 -19.2 per fruit while % rind varied from 60.5-79.5%. Nine accessions selected were planted with five replicates for further evaluation. Plant height and stem girth showed significant differences at early stages but became non significant by three years after planting. At 42 months after planting plant height varied from 368-492 cm while stem girth ranged from 42.0 – 52.8 cm. Principal component analysis of selected fruit and leaf characteristics of six accessions showed that first three PCs accounted for 89.35% of the variation in the characteristics used for the analysis indicating that the varieties of the collection are diverse. Collection of germplasm continued with establishment of a field gene bank to conserve accessions with two replicates. Nine selections were also further tested in farmer fields for adaptability.
K H S Peiris
Fruit Crops Research and Development Center, Department of Agriculture, Kananwila, Horana