‘Apalachee’ Pecan

in HortScience

‘Apalachee’ is a new pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] cultivar released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service. ‘Apalachee’ is being released because of its high nut quality, high yield potential, disease resistance, and excellent tree strength. Pecans from this cultivar are small and can be shelled to produce high-quality intact halves and pieces, mainly suitable for the baking and manufacturing industries.

Origin

The USDA conducts the only national pecan breeding program. Crosses are made at Brownwood and College Station, TX (Grauke and Thompson, 1996; Thompson and Grauke, 1991; Thompson and Young, 1985). Seedling clones are initially germinated in the greenhouse during the winter and screened for scab resistance under orchard conditions the first summer. Resistant seedlings are then transplanted to orchards and evaluated on their own roots or budded to pollarded trees for the initial 10-year testing phase at College Station. Superior clones then enter the National Pecan Advanced Clone Testing System (NPACTS), where they are tested across the U.S. pecan belt in cooperation with state researchers and private growers. After several years, the best clones are given Native American tribe names and released to nurseries for propagation of trees to be sold to commercial growers and homeowners. USDA cultivars are never patented, and after release, growers can propagate the new cultivar as much as desired.

The Apalachee are one of the principal Native American tribes of Apalachee Bay, FL, and are of Muskhogean stock (Hodge, 1975). The name is believed to be from the Choctaw A'palachi, signifying “(people) on the other side.” The people were agricultural, industrious, and prosperous and noted by the surrounding tribes for their fighting qualities.

‘Apalachee’, tested as selection 48-13-311, is a progeny from a 1948 cross between the Moore and Schley cultivars made by L.D. Romberg at Brownwood, TX. ‘Moore’ is a seedling originated in Waukeenah, Jefferson County, FL, in 1908 (Thompson and Young, 1985). ‘Moore’ is a precocious, prolific cultivar with a small nut and excellent scab [Cladosporium caryigenum (Ell. et Lang.) Gottwald] resistance. ‘Moore’ is also the female parent of ‘Barton’, the first USDA pecan cultivar, released in 1953, and one of the most scab-resistant clones ever tested.

‘Schley’ was introduced by A.G. Delmas of Pascagoula, Jackson County, MS, in 1898 (Thompson and Young, 1985). This cultivar is still common in the southeastern United States and has the reputation as one of the best quality nuts of the older cultivars. It is, however, extremely susceptible to leaf and nut scab. ‘Schley’ has been an extremely good parent in the USDA breeding program, and ‘Apalachee’ is the seventh USDA cultivar released with ‘Schley’ parentage.

Description

Yield data indicate that ‘Apalachee’ has outstanding precocity, similar to ‘Wichita’, with trees beginning to bear nuts in 4 years. In a 10-year commercial yield test near Albany, GA (Table 1), ‘Apalachee’ averaged 1791 kg·ha−1, which is a good consistent yield for this period. The alternate bearing tendency of ‘Apalachee’ appears low (Table 1), but if needed, excess crop can be managed by midsummer fruit thinning.

Table 1.

Production and value of ‘Apalachee’ pecans produced in a small commercial orchard at Muckalee Plantation, Albany, GA.

Table 1.

‘Apalachee’ is a small, high-quality pecan with a nut weight of 5.4 g and 54.4% kernel (Table 1) in the Albany test mentioned. Nuts are oblong with an acute apex and base and are round in cross-section (Fig. 1). Kernels are cream to golden in color with a narrow dorsal ridge and relatively narrow dorsal grooves.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Nuts and kernels of the ‘Apalachee’ pecan.

Citation: HortScience horts 45, 9; 10.21273/HORTSCI.45.9.1386

In six NPACTS performance tests (Table 2), ‘Apalachee’ had 2.1 nuts per cluster compared with three for ‘Pawnee’ and 2.9 for ‘Wichita’. In these same tests, ‘Apalachee’ had 64% terminals with clusters compared with 60% for ‘Pawnee’ and 51% for ‘Wichita’.

Table 2.

National Pecan Advanced Clone Testing System (NPACTS) data from replicated tests at six locations [Big Valley, Brownwood (two locations), and El Paso, TX; Baton Rouge, LA; and Tulare, CA] for 3 to 6 years comparing the ‘Apalachee’ pecan with other cultivars.

Table 2.

Spring bud break is similar to ‘Desirable’ and earlier than ‘Stuart’. ‘Apalachee’ is protandrous (Fig. 2) with early to midseason pollen shed and midseason to late receptivity (similar to ‘Desirable’). ‘Apalachee’ should be well pollenized by and a good pollenizer for ‘Choctaw’, ‘Kanza’, ‘Lakota’, ‘Nacono’, ‘Hopi’, and ‘Wichita’. Time of nut maturity is early to midseason, similar to ‘Caddo’ and ‘Barton’, and ≈3 weeks after ‘Pawnee’. ‘Apalachee’ has performed well in tests in Alabama, Georgia, and Texas. Trees have central leader growth habit and develop strong limb angles and a wind-resistant tree structure, very similar to the ‘Moore’ parent. ‘Apalachee’ is resistant to scab disease (comparable to ‘Stuart’ or ‘Caddo’) with medium susceptibility to yellow and black aphids.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Pollen shed and pistil receptivity for the ‘Apalachee’ pecan and control cultivars at Brownwood, TX, in 1974. Type I = protandrous cultivars; Type II = protogynous cultivars.

Citation: HortScience horts 45, 9; 10.21273/HORTSCI.45.9.1386

Availability

‘Apalachee’ was released 23 Feb. 2009 and is not patented. Graftwood was supplied to nurserymen in the spring of 2009. The USDA does not have any trees for distribution. This cultivar will be deposited in the National Plant Germplasm System where it will be available for research purposes, including development and commercialization of new cultivars. It is requested that appropriate recognition be made if this clone contributes to the development of any new cultivars.

Literature Cited

  • GraukeL.J.ThompsonT.E.1996Pecans and hickories185239JanickJ.A.MooreJ.N.Fruit breeding. III. NutsWiley and Sons, IncNew York, NY

  • HodgeF.B.1975Handbook of American Indians north of MexicoRowman and LittlefieldTotowa, NJ

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  • ThompsonT.E.GraukeL.J.1991Pecans and other hickories (Carya)839904MooreJ.N.BallingtonJ.R.Genetic resources of temperate fruit and nut cropsInt. Soc. Hort. Sci., WageningenThe Netherlands

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  • ThompsonT.E.YoungE.F.Jr1985Pecan cultivars: Past and presentTexas Pecan Growers AssnCollege Station, TX

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Contributor Notes

Mention of a trademark, vendor, or proprietary product does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by the USDA and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may also be suitable. A USDA employee prepared this article as part of his official duties. Copyright protection under U.S. copyright law is not available for such works, and there is no copyright to transfer. The fact that the private publication in which the article appears is itself copyrighted does not affect the material that is a work product of the U.S. Government, which can be freely reproduced by the public.

Research geneticist.

Research horticulturist.

To whom reprint requests should be addressed; e-mail tommy.thompson@ars.usda.gov.

  • View in gallery

    Nuts and kernels of the ‘Apalachee’ pecan.

  • View in gallery

    Pollen shed and pistil receptivity for the ‘Apalachee’ pecan and control cultivars at Brownwood, TX, in 1974. Type I = protandrous cultivars; Type II = protogynous cultivars.

  • GraukeL.J.ThompsonT.E.1996Pecans and hickories185239JanickJ.A.MooreJ.N.Fruit breeding. III. NutsWiley and Sons, IncNew York, NY

  • HodgeF.B.1975Handbook of American Indians north of MexicoRowman and LittlefieldTotowa, NJ

    • Export Citation
  • ThompsonT.E.GraukeL.J.1991Pecans and other hickories (Carya)839904MooreJ.N.BallingtonJ.R.Genetic resources of temperate fruit and nut cropsInt. Soc. Hort. Sci., WageningenThe Netherlands

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ThompsonT.E.YoungE.F.Jr1985Pecan cultivars: Past and presentTexas Pecan Growers AssnCollege Station, TX

    • Export Citation
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