Identifying plant architectural traits associated with yield under intercropping: Implications of genotype-cropping system interactions

S. C. Nelson, R. H. Robichaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Increased yields of some crops have resulted from indirect selection of plant architectural traits related to yield. This study examines the potential relationship between plant architecture and yield for a legume grown under intercropping. Field experiments were conducted in 1991 to examine the response of two cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) genotypes with contrasting plant habits to sole crop and intercrop with pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke), and to identify cowpea traits associated with yield under intercropping. The cultivar with a bush-type habit was higher yielding in sole crop, whereas the cultivar with a spreading habit was higher-yielding in intercrop. For F2 cowpea populations, pod number was most highly correlated with seed yield in intercrop. The number of branches and nodes, particularly in areas with increased access to light, and increased internode length were also important in intercrop. Selection for improved yield in sole crop may not necessarily lead to improved yield in intercrop, and different plant trails may be more appropriate for cultivars intended for use in intercrop than for those intended for use in sole crop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Breeding
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1997



  • Genotype-environment interactions
  • Ideotype breeding
  • Indirect selection
  • Intercropping
  • Plant architecture
  • Vigna unguiculata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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