Comparison of Seed Number and Mass of Southern Highbush Blueberries vs. Those of Their F1 Hybrids with V. simulatum after Open Pollination

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Open-pollinated southern highbush (V. corymbosum L. hybrids) and F1 (southern highbush × V. simulatum Small) hybrid blueberry seedlings were compared for fertility in a high-density nursery in Gainesville, Fla. Most of the pollen sources in the field were tetraploid southern highbush seedlings. Berries were collected from 100 southern highbush seedlings and from 100 seedlings from southern highbush × V. simulatum crosses. The seeds were extracted and dried on a laboratory bench for several days before weighing. No significant differences were found in seed mass/berry between the two types of seedlings. Although the F1 interspecific hybrids averaged slightly lower in seed mass per berry, this was due to the smaller size of their well-developed seeds, not to poor seed development. The estimated number of well-developed seeds per berry was 35.4 and 39.1 for southern highbush blueberries and their F1 hybrids with V. simulatum, respectively. These results indicate that reduced fertility should not be a problem in using V. simulatum to breed southern highbush blueberries.

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