ABSTRACT

Thirty-five accessions with one variety of mesta germplasm were collected from Gene Bank of BJRI and conducted at Jute Agriculture Experimental Station (JAES), Manikganj during kharif season in 2016. The accessions were characterized for twenty morpho-agronomic traits as per Hibiscus descriptor in order to select superior genotypes for the genetic improvement of mesta. Considerable ranges of variability were observed in stem colour, petiole colour, stipule colour, plant technical height, base diameter, dry fiber weight and dry stick weight. Considering the major yield contributing characters accessions 3851, 4081, 3592 and 1993, performed better in most of the cases than the check variety (HS-24).

Key words: Mesta, genetic variability, morphotypic characters.

Introduction

Hibiscus L. is the type genus of the tribe Hibisceae of the family Malvaceae (BarssumWaalkes, 1966). The genus contains about 300 species that grow in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world (Anderson and Pharis, 2003). It includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants. Some of the species are economically important as a source of food, beverage, fiber, medicines and other species such as ornamentals (Wilson and Menzel, 1964; Bolade et al., 2009). One species of Hibiscus, known as mesta (Hibiscus sabdariffa) which is originated in Africa (David and Adam, 1988) and widely cultivated in West Africa as vegetable plant. Mesta also known as sorrel, roselle, karkade and popular plant in Middle Eastern countries (Morton, 1987; AbuTarboush et al., 1997). It is also found in almost all tropical countries including Malaysia, South East Asia, Indonesia, and Thailand (Rao, 1996). Mesta is currently an important cash crop grown in the river banks and char areas of Bangladesh. There is one variety currently available for growers to cultivate in Bangladesh. It is grown mainly for its red acid succulent calyces that can be made into a drink or to make jams or jellies. The red coloring makes it a popular ingredient of commercial herbal teas. In some places its leaves are also used as a vegetable and its stem has a fiber that is sometimes used for domestic purposes. The seeds contain oil, which is good as a lubricant fuel, and used for making soap. The Gene Bank of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) has been conserved about 6012 germplasm of jute, kenaf, mesta and allied fiber of both indigenous and exotic origin. Out of these 476 germplasm of Hibiscus sabdariffa, about 324 germplasm are characterized as per Hibiscus Descriptor. The rest of germplasm need to characterize and find out superior germplasm for varietal development programme. To fulfill the above desire the present study was carried out at Jute Agriculture Experimental Station (JAES), Manikganj during kharif season in 2016.

Materials and Methods
The experiment was conducted at Jute Agriculture Experimental Station (JAES), Manikganj sowing seeds on 9 April, 2016. Thirty entries along with the check variety HS-24 were taken in to this study. Each accession was sown in 5 rows of 3 m length; spacing was 30 cm between rows, 5-6 cm between plants and 1 m between plots. Standard cultural and inter-cultural practices were followed. Pigmentation data on stem colour, leaf colour, vein colour, petiole colour, stipule colour, bud colour, and fruit colour were collected at