Development of perennial oilseed crops for the Lakes States region of the United States would provide another crop opportunity for farmers, while improving ecosystem services from agricultural lands. In order to effectively select hazelnut (Corylus americana Marsh.) genotypes from existing wild populations, we needed to know at least three parameters: (1) measures for indirect assessment of yield, (2) between and within population genetic variability, (3) fatty acid characteristics of the nuts. American hazelnut populations at 21 sites were screened for high-yielding plants. Yield component analysis was used to determine the relationship of specific component of yield (nut clusters/m2, nuts/cluster, mass in-shell/nut, mass of nutmeat/mass in-shell) to yield of nutmeat/m2. Nut clusters/m2 explained the majority of the variation in yield of nutmeat/m2. Ten microsatellite loci were used to determine the within and between population variation. The majority of the variance was between individuals within populations. Fatty acid profiles were determined for a subset of high-producing plants. Hazelnut oil is predominantly oleic acid. The fatty acid profiles do not vary greatly between individual plants, although linoleic acid is the most open to selection.
- Fatty acid