Baobab (Adansonia digitata L) trees have a wide variety of subsistence and economic values
across sub-Saharan Africa. Knowledge of the genetic variation within and between the species is
essential for management and designing domestication, improvement and conservation strategies.
Fifty-nine half-sib families were evaluated in the nursery to determine the genetic variation and
control within and between the populations from four silvicultural zones. Seed germination and
seven seedling growth parameters were assessed. Total phenotypic variance, family variance,
within family variance, individual narrow sense heritability, and additive genetic coefficient of
variation (AGCV) were derived from observed and expected mean squares. There were highly
significant differences in seed germination, plant height, root collar diameter, number of leaves,
shoot height and diameter, tuber diameter and weight. Provenance variation in germination
ranged from 46.7 ±3.3% to 68.7±3.3% while tree –to- tree variation ranged from 6.3±8.6% to
95.5±8.6%. Coefficient of variation in seedling growth variables ranged from 18.6% to 43.6%.
Individual narrow sense heritabilities (h2) ranged from 0.07 to 0.71. AGCV ranged from 3.21% to
14.67%. Morphological traits showed that mainland populations were genetically distant from
the island one. High and moderate additive genetic control of traits and AGCV show the
potential that Baobab can also respond well to tree improvement. High phenotypic variation
found in the study offers an opportunity to effect selection of superior attributes at both
provenance and individual tree-to-tree level.