Getting around the damage caused by drought is a worldwide challenge, particularly in Brazil, given that economy is based on agricultural activities, including popcorn growing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate popcorn inbred lines under water stressed (WS) and well-watered (WW) conditions regarding agronomic attributes, root morphology, and leaf “greenness” index (SPAD index), besides investigating the viability of indirect selection by canonical correlations (CC) of grain yield (GY) and popping expansion (PE). Seven agronomic, six morphological root traits were evaluated and SPAD index at five different dates during grain filling. The WS (−29% less water than WW) affected significantly the GY (−55%), PE (−28%), increased the brace and crown root density, and more vertically oriented the brace and crown angles. Higher SPAD index is associated with a higher yield, and these measures were the only ones with no significant genotype × water condition interaction, which may render concomitant selection for WS and WW easier. For associating the corrections of the different traits, CC proved to have better potential than simple correlations. Thus, the evaluation of SPAD index at 29 days after the anthesis showed the best CC, and based on the previous results of SPAD index, may be used regardless of the water condition.
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition