1Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Melkassa Agriculture Research Center P. O. Box 436 Adama, Ethiopia
2Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Wondo Genet Agricultural Research Center, P.O. Box 198, Shashemene, Ethipia
3Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Biometrics GIS, Agro Meteorology and Biometrics Directorate, P.O. Box 2003, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
Objective: Castor (Ricinuscommunis L.) is an industrial oilseed that belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. Castor is believed to be originated in East Africa probably Ethiopia. Although Ethiopia is known as a primary diversity for castor the knowledge on nature and extent of variation of the indigenous germplasm is limited. The present test was conducted to study the nature and extent of variability among Ethiopian castor accessions. Methods: The test was conducted at Melkassa and Arsi Negelle, in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopiaduring the main season of 2013/14. A total of 105 accessions were arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Data of 12 characters were collected and analyzed statistically. Combined analysis of variance over locations reveled the existence of significant variation among accession in all the traits considered in this study. The interaction between accessions and environment was significant for eight of the 12 traits studied. Results: The accessions showed a wide range of variation on days to first flowering (52-148), days to second flowering (65-161), days to first maturity (118-217), days to second maturity (142-237), inflorescence length (13-74 cm), node length (2-32 cm), number of nodes/plant (5-26), number of inflorescence/plant (1-26), plant height (89-356), number of branches/plant (1-9), number of capsules/plant (10-350), hundred seed weight (21-99 g),number of seeds/plant (30-990). Overall highest value of heritability, genetic coefficient of variability and genetic advance as percent of the mean was recorded for number of nodes/plant, number of capsules/plant and 100 seed weight.