Affiliations: [a] Laboratorio de Investigaciones en Fisiología Vegetal, Facultad de Agronomía y Ciencias Agroalimentarias UM –CONICET, Machado, Morón, Buenos Aires, Argentina
| [b] Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie, Alimentari, Ambientali e Forestali –DAGRI, Universitá di Firenze - Viale delle Idee, Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italia | [c] Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC-CONICET), Laboratorio de Recursos Agroforestales, Houssay, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Corresponding author: Miriam E. Arena. Laboratorio de Investigaciones en Fisiología Vegetal. Facultad de Agronomía y Ciencias Agroalimentarias UM –CONICET. Machado 914, Lab. 501, B1708EOH. Morón. Buenos Aires. Argentina. E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: BACKGROUND:The Berberis microphylla (calafate) is an evergreen shrub considered a non-timber product from the Patagonian forest, relevant for the diversification of agrifood production, particularly interesting since its black–blue fruits are extremely rich in phenolic compounds. OBJECTIVE:The main objectives were to: (1) quantify the variability of fruit traits, anthocyanin content, efficiency of the reproductive shoots and leaf nutrient content within the set of 34 B. microphylla wild accessions from Tierra del Fuego Island, Argentina, (2) calculate the coefficients of correlation between variables and (3) detect relationships between the genotypes. METHODS:Plants growing near Ushuaia city (n = 12), bordering Fagnano lake (n = 12) and central area of the Tierra del Fuego Island (n = 10) were selected. RESULTS:A significant variability in fruit traits, anthocyanin content and the efficiency of reproductive shoots among and within the three populations was assessed, a result with great relevance for breeding purposes. Phenotypic plasticity was related with the environmental conditions, i.e. air temperatures for each population during the three monitored growing seasons. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, results indicate that yearly environmental factors play a relevant role in phenotypic variation of both individual plants and populations, thus confirming the complexity of wild species evolution and domestication processes.