Variation in cone and seed characters in blue pine (Pinus wallichiana) across natural distribution in western Himalayas.
We analyzed 17 seed sources (seed stands) of Pinus wallichiana for variations present in cone and seed characters, scattered over natural distribution in north-west Himalayan states (Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) of India. The significant variations were observed in cone weight, cone length, cone width, seed length, seed width, seed weight, seed germination, radicle length, and plumule length among different seed sources of the species. Significant positive correlation between seed weight, cone weight and cone width showed that seed weight in the species depend more on the cone size. Seed germination was also positively correlated with seed weight, cone weight and radicle length in the study. The estimates of variability with regard to genetic parameters for seed weight, seed germination, cone length, cone width, cone weight showed wide range of variation in the study. Seed weight showed high heritability values coupled with maximum genetic gain. Traits with such values indicate presence of good amount of heritable additive components and are under strong genetic control. The findings of the study revealed that seed sources expressed both phenotypic and genotypic differences in the seed and cone traits which might be due to the differences in genetic make up of various seed sources and environmental factors i.e. genotypic and environmental interaction. The study suggests that the seed weight should be given the top priority for the further improvement of this species.