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Factor analysis of growth parameters in Dendrocalamus strictus seedlings: An exploratory approach

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A study on Dendrocalamus strictus seedlings was conducted to identify the underlying factors in growth parameters, and then to analyse factor scores obtained through factor analysis to test the variation among groups of different number of culms per clump. Six-month-old seedlings (clumps) of Dendrocalamus strictus with four groups (based on two, three, four and five or more culms per clump) were sampled and different growth parameters (height of culms, basal culm diameter, number of leaves, number of rhizome sub-units and fresh and dry weight of culms, leaves, rhizome and roots) were measured. A three-factor model accounted for 72 percent of the total variation present in the data was extracted. The first factor, having high positive loadings on fresh and dry weight of rhizome and dry weight of roots, was called the 'below ground mass factor'. The second factor had high positive loadings on height of culms and basal culm diameter and was called the 'above ground growth factor'. The second factor was significantly different and divided the groups in two homogenous sub-groups. The third factor (photosynthetic) had high positive loading on the number of leaves and did not vary significantly within the group of number of culms per clump. Factor analysis provided a statistical tool for grouping the 12 correlated growth parameters into three uncorrelated factors. Analysis of factor scores allowed independent assessment of the number of culms per clump.


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