Almond [Prunus amygdalus Batsch syn. P. dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb] is the main tree nut crop in world production. Successful almond production requires cultivars adapted to the environmental conditions of the growing region. Thus, in wide areas of the Mediterranean Basin, cultivars have to be adapted to avoid late spring frost by late flowering. In California, delayed flowering can help to avoid rain damage at bloom time. A number of agronomic and commercial features (self-compatibility, production, vigor, growth and branching habit, training and pruning ease, disease resistance, nut quality, and so on) are also very important in almond production.
The availability for making crosses of a range of cultivars (late flowering and self-compatible from Apulia, southern Italy, very late blooming from Ukraine, high nut quality from Spain and France, and so on) and selections derived from controlled crosses have enhanced the prospects of almond breeding (Godini, 1996; Grasselly and Crossa-Raynaud, 1980; Socias i Company, 1990; Vargas et al., 1984). With these aims, in the almond breeding program of IRTA Mas de Bover, active since 1975, more than 35,000 seedlings have been raised and a few cultivars selected. The first cultivars registered from this program were ‘Masbovera’, ‘Glorieta’, and ‘Francolí’, which are widely grown in Spain (Vargas and Romero, 1994).
Four new late-blooming almond cultivars, ‘Vayro’, ‘Marinada’, ‘Constantí’, and ‘Tarraco’, have been released. ‘Vayro’, ‘Marinada’, and ‘Constantí’ are self-compatible and self-fruitful. ‘Tarraco’ instead is self-incompatible and thus it needs cross-pollination. The four cultivars are very productive, giving consistent yields. Nut quality is good, with near absence of double-kernel nuts. The almond shells are hard, reducing worm damage (and thus preventing aflatoxin contamination) and also avoiding bird damage. They are well suited to the European industry based on hard-shelled cultivars. The four cultivars are easily trained and pruned and adapt to mechanical harvesting (easy nut removal).
Vargas, F.J. & Romero, M.A. 1994 ‘Masbovera’, ‘Glorieta’ and ‘Francolí’, three new almond varieties from IRTA Acta Hort. 373 75 82
Vargas, F.J. , Romero, M.A. , Rovira, M. & Girona, J. 1984 Amélioration de l'amandier par croisements des variétés. Résultats préliminaires à Tarragone (Espagne) Options Méditerranéennes IAMZ 84 101 122