African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6693

Full Length Research Paper

Biodiversity of Date palm in the Sultanate of Oman

Rashid Al-Yahyai1 and Sulaiman Al-Khanjari 2*
  1Department of Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University. 2University of Nizwa, (DARIS) Center for Scientific Research and Technology Development, P.O. Box 34 Al-Khoud 123, Sultanate of Oman.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 05 June 2008
  •  Published: 30 June 2008

Abstract

 

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is the primary crop in Oman occupying 49% of cultivated area and 82% of all fruit crops grown in the country. Oman is currently the eighth’s largest world producer of dates with a production of 238, 000 metric tones (MT) in 2005. Oman has diverse topographical and climatic eco-regions that allow for cultivation of various types of date palm cultivars, particularly in the northern coastal and the interior region. There are approximately 180 female and 48 male cultivated varieties of the 7.8 million trees of date palm. Despite the great diversity of the cultivars, over 78% of the total production is from only 10 commercial cultivars. These cultivars are dominant because of their marketable high fruit quality or early and late season production. Physical phenotypic diversity index of selected date palm cultivars indicated large biodiversity among the population. Similarity matrix also indicated high similarity among date palm cultivars ranging from 74 to 90%. The study highlighted the need for chemical and molecular analyses to explore the genetic linkage among cultivars.

 

Key words: Phoenix dactylifera, diversity index, agro-climatic zones, arid climate, germplasm conservation, phenotypic characterizations.