Results of a seed source evaluation trial of Jatropha curcas Linn. laid out in 1996 at Jabalpur (M.P), a semi arid region of India are reported and discussed. Seeds collected from ten sources from central India representing the states Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra viz. Gondia, Bichia, Balaghat, Niwas, Khandwa, Burhanpur, Nasik, Chindwara, Kundam and Jabalpur were evaluated for their growth performance from nursery stage (3 months) to field (two years). Variation in seed oil content of different sources were also studied and reported. Significant differences between the seed sources at age 27 months were observed for height, collar diameter, number of branches leaf area and field survival. Seeds collected from different sources also varied significantly in respect of seed and kernel weight and oil content in seed/kernel. The Chhindwara (M.P.) source performed the best and yielded a maximum oil of 39.12% from whole seed and 58.12% from kernel. The oil content ranged from 33.02 to 39.12% in whole seeds and 47.08 to 58.12% in kernel, across the seed sources. The performance of Kundam (M.P.), Jabalpur (M.P.), Bichia (M.P.), Niwas (M.P.) and Nasik (Maharashtra) sources were also found satisfactory for oil yield. Results indicate that genetic differences exist between the seed sources of J. curcas. The growth traits showed significant positive correlation with each other. Fair differences between phenotypic and genotypic coefficient of variability were observed. Heritability (broad sense) values were fairly good with regard to leaf area, height and collar diameter in comparison to survival percent. The relative performance of these sources was fairly consistent throughout the observation period.
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