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Frontiers of Agriculture in China

ISSN 1673-7334

ISSN 1673-744X(Online)

CN 11-5729/S

Front Agric Chin    2011, Vol. 5 Issue (3) : 344-350     DOI: 10.1007/s11703-011-1097-z
Establishment of core collection for Chinese tea germplasm based on cultivated region grouping and phenotypic data
Xinchao WANG, Liang CHEN(), Yajun YANG()
Tea Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; National Center for Tea Improvement, Hangzhou 310008, China
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Tea is an important economic crop in China. About 2665 accessions of tea germplasm (Camellia spp.) are conserved in the China National Germplasm Tea Repository. However, only a small fraction of the collections have been exhaustively used in tea plant improvement programs. The objective of the present study was to develop a core collection of tea plant to enhance the utilization of genetic resources in improvement programs and simplify their management. For this purpose, based on the cultivated region grouping and phenotypic trait data, a core collection of tea plant was established using logarithm proportion and Ward’s cluster method. Approximately 20% of the accessions were then randomly selected from these distinct groups to form a core collection of 532 accessions. Different statistical methods including comparison of mean using Newman-Keuls test, variance using Levene’s test, and frequency distribution using Chi-square test for the traits validated that the variation present in the initial collection was retained in the core collection. The Shannon-Weaver diversity index for different traits was also similar in the core and initial collection. The phenotypic correlations among different quantitative traits that may be under the control of coadapted gene complexes were also preserved in the core collection. This core collection will play an important role in the utilization of tea germplasms.

Keywords tea plant (Camellia sinensis)      germplasm      core collection      cultivated region      phenotypic trait     
Corresponding Authors: CHEN Liang,; YANG Yajun,   
Issue Date: 05 September 2011
URL:     OR
Data typesCharacter types
Passport dataSpecies, germplasm type, propagating type
Morphological dataPlant type, growth habit, young shoot color, young shoot pubescence, length of ‘three and a bud’ (LB), weight of 100 ‘three and a bud’ (WB), leaf attitude, leaf size, leaf shape, leaf color, leaf upper surface, leaf cross section, leaf texture, sharpness of leaf serration, density of leaf serration, depth of leaf serration, leaf base shape, leaf apex shape, calyx pubescence, flower diameter (FD), ovary pubescence, style length (SL), number of style splitting, relative height between gynoecium and androecium (RHGA)
Quality characteristic dataProcessing suitability, water extracts (WE), caffeine (CAF), tea polyphenols (TP), amino acids (AA), ratio of polyphenols/ amino acids (TP/AA)
Tab.1  Characteristic datum used in primary core collection sampling
Character typeCode
Species1:C. sinensis var. sinensis, 2: C. sinensis var. assamica, 3: C. sinensis var. pubilimba, 4: C. gymnogyna, 5: C. taliensis, 6: C. crassicolumna, 7: C. tachangensis, 8: Camellia sp.
Germplasm type1:Wild, 2:Landrace , 3:Improved cultivar, 4:Breeding line, 5:Genetic stock, 6: Other
Propagating type1:Sexual, 2: Asexual
Plant type1: Shrub, 2: Semiarbor, 3: Arbor
Growth habit1:Erect, 2:Semi-erect, 3: Horizontal spreading
Young shoot color1:Whitish, 2: Yellow green, 3: Light green, 4:Green, 5:Purple green
Young shoot pubescence0:Absent, 1:Sparse, 2:Medium, 3:Dense, 4:Extremely dense
Leaf attitude1:Erect, 2:Semi-erect, 3:Horizontal, 4:Drooping
Leaf size1:Small, 2:Medium, 3:Large, 4:Extremely large
Leaf shape1:Near round, 2:Ovate, 3:Elliptic, 4:Oblong ,5:Lanceolate
Leaf color1:Yellow green, 2:Light green, 3: Green, 4:Dark green
Leaf upper surface1:Smooth, 2:Slightly rugose ,3:Rugose
Leaf cross section1:Convex, 2:Flat, 3:Concave
Leaf texture1:Soft, 2:Medium, 3:Hard
Sharpness of leaf serration1:Sharp, 2:Medium, 3:Obtuse
Density of leaf serration1:Sparse ,2:Medium, 3:Dense
Depth of leaf serration1:Flat, 2:Medium, 3:Deep
Leaf base shape1:Acute, 2:Obtuse
Leaf apex shape1:Acute, 2:Attenuate, 3:Blunt, 4:Obtuse
Calyx pubescence0:Absent, 1:Present
Ovary pubescence0:Absent, 1:Present
Relative height between Gynoecium and androecium1:Gynoecium lower, 2:Gynoecium and androecium same height, 3:Gynoecium higher
Processing suitability1:Green tea, 2:Black tea, 3:Oolong tea, 4:Unsuitable
Tab.2  Code designed for qualitative traits in tea germplasms ( spp.)
Cultivated regionInitial collectionCore collection
NumberPercentage (%)Proportion logarithmNumberPercentage of initial collectionPercentage of core collection
Tab.3  Grouping results of tea germplasms in the initial and core collections of China
TraitInitial collectionCore collection
Mean±SDRangeCV (%)VarianceMean±SDRangeCV (%)VarianceLevene’s-testF-test
Tab.4  Comparison of mean, range, coefficient of variation, and variance for nine quantitative traits in the initial and core collections of tea plant
TraitClassχ2P valueTraitClassχ2P value
Species88.7850.268Density of leaf serration34.4030.111
Germplasm type610.913*0.028Depth of leaf serration30.8920.640
Propagating type20.1080.663Leaf base shape20.4410.402
Plant type30.0900.956Leaf apex shape41.5620.668
Growth habit30.7320.693Calyx pubescence20.0020.944
Young shoot color53.2150.523Flower diameter1016.4920.183
Young shoot pubescence57.8440.098Ovary pubescence20.0320.964
Length of ‘three and a bud’102.5720.973Style length107.0300.653
Weight of 100 ‘three and a bud’106.0390.756Number of style splitting523030.680
Leaf attitude46.6690.083Relative height between gynoecium and androecium30.3260.850
Leaf size40.7590.859Processing suitability40.4540.141
Leaf shape52.4680.650Water extracts1014.4440.319
Leaf color40.8250.844Caffeine1022.9460.090
Leaf upper surface34.7550.093Tea polyphenols1011.9300.370
Leaf cross section31.0330.597Amino acids1018.9840.134
Leaf texture31.9500.377Ratio of polyphenols/ amino acids1011.9260.338
Sharpness of leaf serration30.8620.650
Tab.5  Comparison of frequency distribution of 33 traits between core and initial collection by test
TraitInitial collectionCore collectionTraitInitial collectionCore collection
Propagating type0.6130.628Depth of leaf serration1.0171.021
Plant type0.9420.932Leaf base shape0.3030.550
Growth habit0.9911.004Leaf apex shape0.6470.743
Young shoot color1.4291.240Calyx pubescence0.4170.553
Young shoot pubescence1.2151.292Flower diameter2.0012.136
Length of ‘three and a bud’2.0532.083Ovary pubescence0.2070.210
Weight of 100 ‘three and a bud’1.9061.910Style length1.9632.080
Leaf attitude1.1971.194Number of style splitting0.1990.262
Leaf size1.2331.265Relative height between gynoecium and androecium0.8110.843
Leaf shape0.7950.898Processing suitability0.9670.894
Leaf color0.8550.914Water extracts2.0462.096
Leaf upper surface1.0811.084Caffeine2.0612.153
Leaf cross section0.7840.732Tea polyphenols2.0782.202
Leaf texture1.0450.999Amino acids2.0802.169
Sharpness of leaf serration0.9870.995Ratio of polyphenols/ amino acids1.8081.922
Density of leaf serration0.9590.947Mean±SD1.184±0.6021.224±0.613
Tab.6  Comparison of Shannon-weaver diversity indices for 31 traits between the initial and core collections of tea plant
Tab.7  Phenotypic correlations between quantitative traits in initial (below diagonal) and core collections (above diagonal)
IndexCRIN (%)IndexCRIN (%)
Country of origin100.0Sharpness of leaf serration100.0
Province of origin100.0Density of leaf serration100.0
Species100.0Depth of leaf serration100.0
Germplasm type100.0Leaf base shape100.0
Propagating type100.0Leaf apex shape100.0
Plant type100.0Calyx pubescence100.0
Growth habit100.0Flower diameter100.0
Young shoot color100.0Ovary pubescence100.0
Young shoot pubescence100.0Style length100.0
Length of ‘three and a bud’100.0Number of style splitting100.0
Weight of 100 ‘three and a bud’90.0Relative height between gynoecium and androecium100.0
Leaf attitude100.0Processing suitability100.0
Leaf size100.0Water extracts100.0
Leaf shape100.0Caffeine100.0
Leaf color100.0Tea polyphenols100.0
Leaf upper surface100.0Amino acids100.0
Leaf cross section100.0Ratio of polyphenols/ amino acids100.0
Leaf texture100.0Mean99.4
Tab.8  Coincidence rate of index numbers (CRIN) of core collection
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