Morphological characterization of the IVIA persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.) germplasm collection by multivariate analysis
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Diospyros kaki Thunb. originated in Eastern Asia, as evidenced of its culture in China as early as several centuries B.C. In the seventh century, persimmon was introduced to Japan and later, in the fourteenth century to Korea. There is no information about persimmon culture in Europe until the seventeenth century, with the spread over the world occurring in the eighteenth century. The genus Diospyros contains more than 400 species, with levels of ploidy ranging from diploid (2n = 2x = 30) up to nonaploid (2n = 9x = 135). The primary economic crop species is Diospyros kaki Thunb., which is mainly hexaploid (2n = 6x = 90) and includes hundreds of cultivars. Although a relatively recent introduction in Europe, the species has adapted well, and the genetic diversity have been expanded with culture and selection for the past 200 years in the Mediterranean basin. These locally adapted cultivars were evaluated with cultivars from Asian origin in a germplasm collection established at IVIA in Valencia, Spain. In this paper 27 cultivars from the IVIA collection were studied by multivariate analysis, and 37 variables were analyzed using a Principal Components Analysis and cluster analysis following the method UPGMA. Studies on correlations and significance among variables identified the most relevant ones, and thus provided information for a future core collection.