Landraces of spinach in Iran have not been sufficiently characterised for their morpho-agronomic traits. Such characterisation would be helpful in the development of new genetically improved cultivars. In this study 54 spinach accessions collected from the major spinach growing areas of Iran were evaluated to determine their phenotypic diversity profile of spinach genotypes on the basis of 10 quantitative and 9 qualitative morpho-agronomic traits. High coefficients of variation were recorded in some quantitative traits (dry yield and leaf area) and all of the qualitative traits. Using principal component analysis, the first four principal components with eigen-values more than 1 contributed 87% of the variability among accessions for quantitative traits, whereas the first four principal components with eigen-values more than 0.8 contributed 79% of the variability among accessions for qualitative traits. The most important relations observed on the first two principal components were a strong positive association between leaf width and petiole length; between leaf length and leaf numbers in flowering; and among fresh yield, dry yield and petiole diameter; a near zero correlation between days to flowering with leaf width and petiole length. Prickly seeds, high percentage of female plants, smooth leaf texture, high numbers of leaves at flowering, greygreen leaves, erect petiole attitude and long petiole length are important characters for spinach breeding programmes.
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