‘Belona’ and ‘Soleta’ are two new almond [Prunus amygdalus Batsch, syn. P. dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb] cultivars from the breeding program of the Unidad de Fruticultura, CITA de Aragón. They are characterized by their kernel quality and by the possibility of becoming a commercial alternative to the two traditional almond cultivars in the Spanish market, ‘Marcona’ and ‘Desmayo Largueta’, to which they are comparable in their aspect and industrial quality but different from them in their late blooming date, tolerance to frosts, and, mainly, self-compatibility.
Since the beginning of almond research in Zaragoza in 1966, the most important problem detected in Spanish almond growing was its low productivity attributable to the occurrence of frosts at blooming time or later, to deficient pollination, and to drought, because almond was mostly grown in nonirrigated conditions (Felipe, 2000). As a consequence, the main aim of the subsequent breeding program was the development of late-blooming and self-compatible cultivars. The first three cultivars released were ‘Aylés’, ‘Guara’, and ‘Moncayo’ (Felipe and Socias i Company, 1987), with ‘Guara’ having represented more than 50% of the new almond orchards in the last years (MAPA, 2002). Later, three more cultivars were registered in 1998, ‘Blanquerna’, ‘Cambra’, and ‘Felisia’ (Socias i Company and Felipe, 1999), with ‘Blanquerna’ having very good productivity and kernel quality and ‘Felisia’ very late blooming time (Fig. 1). Breeding, however, has continued, pursuing autogamy and fruit quality, aiming at defining the best end use of each cultivar (Socias i Company et al., 2006) and taking into account the preference of the Spanish market for ‘Marcona’ and ‘Desmayo Largueta’.
Grasselly, C., Crossa-Raynaud, P., Olivier, P. & Gall, H. 1981 Transmission du caractère d'autocompatibilité chez l'amandier Options Méditerr CIHEAM/IAMZ 81/I 71 75
Kodad, O., Socias i Company, R., Prats, M.S. & López Ortiz, M.C. 2006 Variability in tocopherol concentration in almond oil and its use as a selection criterion in almond breeding J. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol. 81 501 507
MAPA 2002 Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food<http://www.mapya.es/agric/pags/semillas/vivero/almendro.pdf./>
Socias i Company, R. & Felipe, A.J. 1999 ‘Blanquerna’, ‘Cambra’ y ‘Felisia’: Tres nuevos cultivares autógamos de almendro Inf. Técn. Econ. Agrar. 95V 111 117
Socias i Company, R., Gómez Aparisi, J. & Alonso, J.M. 2005 Year and enclosure effects on fruit set in an autogamous almond Scientia Hort. 104 369 377
Socias i Company, R., Kodad, O. & Alonso, J.M. 2006 Mejora de la calidad en el almendro 597 611 Llácer G., Díez M.J., Carrillo J.M. & Badenes M.L. Mejora genética de la calidad en plantas Univ. Politécnica Valencia Valencia, Spain