Evaluation of production and quality traits in interspecific hybrids of ornamental pepper

ABSTRACT The cultivation of potted peppers as ornamental plants has increased considerably throughout the planet. In Brazil, this crop is more recent and still lacks cultivars. In order to increase the available variability and obtain new cultivars, the interspecific hybridization is very useful in add a desirable attribute that occurs in one species to another species, resulting in a new cultivar of agronomic interest. The objective of this study was to characterize parents and interspecific hybrids based on 27 quantitative traits and evaluate their genetic diversity by multivariate procedures. Parents of seven pepper genotypes were crossed, and, seven hybrids were generated. The experiment was conducted in a completely randomized design. Data were subjected to analysis of variance, and means were subsequently grouped by Scott-Knott’s method. Tocher’s method was utilized based on Mahalanobis distance, and the relative importance was evaluated by Singh’s method. The effects of treatment were significant by F test at 1 and 5% probability for all studied traits, except for anther length and titratable acidity. According to Scott-Knott’s test, the genotypes were grouped into two to eight classes. By Tocher’s method, the genotypes were separated into four groups. The first three canonical variables explained 92.02% of the total variance. By Singh method, fruit yield per plant was the trait that most contributed to the divergence explaining 21% of the total variance. The studied parents and hybrids diverged for the evaluated traits; however, there was difficulty in obtaining good interspecific hybrids with traits of importance, wherein combinations HS1×L7, L2×L6, and HS1×L2 met these requirements.