Thirty-four traditional accessions belonging to sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.), which were collected from different sites located in Tuscany (Italy), were characterized using a set of 47 agro-morphological traits established by the UPOV and IBPGR. The evaluation was carried out over a period of two years in a plantation situated in northeastern Tuscany. Univariate and multivariate analysis were used to investigate the diversity present among the accessions in the collection. The results showed statistically significant differences between these accessions. PCA analysis shows high discrimination capabilities of variables measured. Most of these variables were characteristics linked to fruit and leaf size. PCA also evaluated the compactness and the peculiarity of each cultivar, thus providing information on the mixing level among the cultivars within the space of their morphological traits. An appropriate sampling strategy was an important prerequisite for reducing the level of overlap between the accessions. Cluster analysis grouped the said accessions according to their place of cultivation and phenotypical fruit data. The results of this study provide information that may be useful for determining the biodiversity of autochthonous cultivars, for the purposes of obtaining guidelines in determining in situ and ex situ germplasm characterization.
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