Morphological Variation in Western Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) in the Pacific Northwest

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  • 1 1Dept. of Horticulture, 4017 Ag. & Life Sciences Bldg., Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR 97331
  • 2 2USDA/ARS, NW Center for Small Fruit Research, 3420 NW Orchard Ave., Corvallis, OR 97330.

Trailing blackberry cultivars, such as `Marion', can be traced to relatively few chance selections of Rubus ursinus Cham. & Schlecht. Wild R. ursinus offer a range of horticulturally desirable traits to breeders, from high fruit quality to improved cold hardiness. Cuttings from 460 plants, representing 20 populations in southern British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, collected in 1993. Rooted clones were planted in 1994 in a replicated field trial to assess morphological variation. A greenhouse study was also undertaken, with 10 clones represented from each site, in two replications. Preliminary data from the greenhouse and field studies show variability in the following morphological characters: Glandular hairs; cane and prickle color; cane diameter; prickle density; internode length; leaf color, size, shape and density; and senescent leaf drop and color change. Floricane morphology will be assessed in 1995. Analysis of these data will determine relative genetic distances among the populations and enhance the understanding of the diversity available in R. ursinus.

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