Genetic variability in fifty three accessions of West African Okra [Abelmoschus caillei (A. Chev.) Stevels] were evaluated using morphological traits. These accessions were collected from home gardens, seed stores and distant farms in South Western Nigeria and trials carried out in the experimental garden, University of Benin, Nigeria. The primary data on quantitative and qualitative characters collected were subjected to multivariate analyses to determine their relationship and distinctiveness. At P < 0.05, 14 quantitative characters were significant. Two principal component analyses were conducted. Eighteen of the total characters accounted for 90.2 % of the total variability on Principal Component (PC) axes 1 - 5 and the other, sixteen characters showed 70.1 % as the minimum descriptor for distinguishing A. caillei. The traits expressed by these descriptors are reflected in pigmentation of various organs; fruit characteristics and plant architecture on the crop plants. The sixteen characters suggested for core determination of this species were used for cluster analysis. All accessions clustered into seven distinct groups at Euclidean distance 8 - 10. This suggests relatively high genetic variability among the germplasm. The clustering is ecologically independent and the number of accession(s) in each cluster suggests A. caillei as a continuous complex of varieties. This collection requires more evidence probably molecular evaluation for taxonomic treatment of the taxon.
Okra, Genetic Variation, Multivariate Analysis, Principal Component Analysis, Cluster Analysis