Morphological characterization and genetic divergence of a cashew population in Floriano, Piauí, Brazil
Anacardium occidentale (cashew) is a tropical tree species that occurs mainly in northeastern Brazil. The species has great socioeconomic importance for rural populations. We investigated the genetic diversity of a natural cashew population in a rural area of Floriano, State of Piauí, Brazil. We quantitatively evaluated 12 natural variables related to the inflorescence, the cashew nut (fruit), and the peduncle (pseudofruit) in 35 trees (numbered sequentially G1-35). The characteristics of the peduncle (pseudofruit) appeared as the variables that most contributed to genetic divergence, while characteristics related to the inflorescence contributed less to the morphological differentiation. Multivariate statistics, employing principal component analysis evidenced that the first three principal components explained 81.72% of the total variance. Cashews G-3 and G-8 were identified as the most divergent, with G-3 demonstrating the greatest peduncle lengths and weights.