‘Mardía’ Almond

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  • 1 Unidad de Fruticultura, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), Av. Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain

‘Mardía’ is a new almond cultivar released because of its good agronomical traits and very late blooming time, 2 weeks later than ‘Felisia’, the latest blooming cultivar released so far. It is characterized by its slightly upright growth habit, early ripening, high and regular bloom density, autogamy (S6Sf genotype), high fruit set, tolerance to diseases, hard shell, large kernel, very high content of oleic acid, and low content of linoleic acid.

Abstract

‘Mardía’ is a new almond cultivar released because of its good agronomical traits and very late blooming time, 2 weeks later than ‘Felisia’, the latest blooming cultivar released so far. It is characterized by its slightly upright growth habit, early ripening, high and regular bloom density, autogamy (S6Sf genotype), high fruit set, tolerance to diseases, hard shell, large kernel, very high content of oleic acid, and low content of linoleic acid.

The almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) breeding program of the Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria of Aragón aims to develop new self-compatible and late-blooming cultivars to solve the main problem detected in Spanish almond growing, its low productivity, as a result of the occurrence of frosts at blooming time or later and to a deficient pollination (Felipe, 2000). The first three cultivars released from this breeding program were Aylés, Guara, and Moncayo (Felipe and Socias i Company, 1987), ‘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), ‘Blanquerna’ being of very good productivity and kernel quality, and ‘Felisia’ of very late blooming time (Fig. 1). Two more cultivars, Belona and Soleta, were registered in 2005 (Socias i Company and Felipe, 2007) characterized by their high kernel quality and considered possible commercial substitutes for the two preferred cultivars in the Spanish market, Marcona and Desmayo Largueta. The last release from this breeding program is ‘Mardía’, recently registered because of its good horticultural and commercial traits.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Mean flowering time of ‘Mardía’ as related to other cultivars (7-year average). Percentages refer to the amount of flowers opened.

Citation: HortScience horts 43, 7; 10.21273/HORTSCI.43.7.2240

Origin

‘Mardía’ (selection G-2-25, clone 541) comes from the cross of ‘Felisia’, a self-compatible and late-blooming release of the Zaragoza breeding program of small kernel size (Socias i Company and Felipe, 1999), and ‘Bertina’, a late-blooming local selection of large kernel size (Felipe, 2000). This cross was made with the aim of using two late-blooming almond cultivars, one of them carrying the late-bloom allele Lb (Socias i Company et al., 1999), of very different kernel size and genetically very distant to avoid the problems related to inbreeding depression (Alonso and Socias i Company, 2007).

Blooming Time

Blooming time has been a very important evaluation trait. As an average, its blooming time is 25 d later than ‘Nonpareil’, 20 d after ‘Guara’, and 13 d after ‘Felisia’, the latest blooming cultivar released so far (Fig. 1). The consistent late blooming time is the result of very high chilling and heat requirements (Alonso and Socias i Company, 2008; Alonso et al., 2005), much higher than in any other almond genotype (Table 1). Flowers are of small size and white with epistigmatic pistil both on spurs and on 1-year shoots. Bloom density is regular and high (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2008b).

Table 1.

Chilling and heat requirements of ‘Mardía’ as related to other cultivars.z

Table 1.

Autogamy

Self-compatibility was tested as soon as the original seedlings produced the first flowers by examining the arrival or not of pollen tubes at the ovary after self-pollination (data not shown). Sets after self-pollination and autogamy were studied on three grafted trees of each selection during several years as a result of the large variability found between years in field trials for fruit set (Socias i Company et al., 2005). Average set after artificial self-pollination was 17.9%, higher than after crosspollination, 15.7%, showing a good self-compatible behavior, although this difference was not statistically significant. Average set in bagged branches was 9.8%, higher than the threshold of 6% indicated by Grasselly et al. (1981) for autogamy, and 23.7% for open pollination. These sets (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2008a) are lower than those considered for a commercial crop in Californian cultivars (Kester and Griggs, 1959), but ensure a good crop level because of the high bloom density of this selection, resulting in high productivity (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2006). Its S-allele genotype has been determined as S6Sf (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2008a).

Performance

Field behavior has been evaluated with three grafted trees in an experimental plot and in three external trials. One on the most important points considered was the behavior in relation to spring frost injury. Especially important were the observations in 2003 and 2004 with severe frosts in most almond-growing regions of Spain. Whereas cultivars considered as resistant to frosts such as Guara (Felipe, 1988) sustained important yield reductions, ‘Mardía’, as a result of its extremely late blooming season, did not sustain any damage (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2005).

Tree training has been easy because of its slightly upright growth habit (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2008b) without the problem of bending branches of ‘Guara’. Thus, induction of lateral branching is recommended during the first years. Adult trees show an intermediate vigor and branching intensity as well as a good equilibrium between vegetative growth and production, thus allowing reduction of pruning. Field observations in the different locations showed its tolerance to Polystigma and other fungal diseases.

Ripening time is early, although later than in ‘Guara’, which allows the succession of harvest. Nut fall before harvest has been very low, but nuts fell easily when shaken. Yield rating has been slightly lower than for ‘Guara’ (7 versus 8 on a 0 to 9 scale).

The external trials have shown its good adaptation to different growing and weather conditions, maintaining a high level of bud density in all locations (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2008b). A trial in Aniñón (Zaragoza) at 730 m above sea level and of very cold climate has had good production even in years with late frosts. A trial in El Pinós (Alacant), at 575 m above sea level but with a milder climate, has shown their very good production as well as vegetation (G. Valdés, unpublished data). Blooming and ripening dates observed in these locations have been, as expected, earlier in El Pinós than in Zaragoza, but later in Aniñón.

Industrial Quality and Composition

Nut and fruit evaluation has been done through 7 years according to the IPGRI and UPOV descriptors. Nuts show a very good aspect and good size (4.9 ± 0.5 g). The shell is hard (shelling percentage of 24%), adapted to the Spanish industry. Kernels also show a very good aspect and good size (1.2 ± 0.2 g), heart-shaped, without double kernels (Fig. 2). Industrial cracking has been carried out by the Cooperative “Frutos Secos Alcañiz” and has shown very good results without the presence of double layers in the shell. Kernel breakage at cracking has been low with 86.2% of whole kernels.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Nut and kernel of ‘Mardía’.

Citation: HortScience horts 43, 7; 10.21273/HORTSCI.43.7.2240

The chemical composition of the kernels has been determined to establish their best use opportunities. The content in protein is medium and that of oil is high, similar to that of ‘Marcona’ (Table 2), a very interesting trait for “turrón” (nougat) production. The percentage of oleic acid, that of higher quality for fat stability and nutritive value in the lipid fraction, is especially high (Kodad and Socias i Company, 2008c), close to 75% (Table 2). The content in linoleic acid, of lower quality than the oleic acid, is low, showing a very high ratio of oleic/linoleic acids (4.5) as another index of high oil quality. The amount of tocopherol is lower than in other cultivars (Kodad et al., 2006), indicating the need for rapid processing of kernels after cracking.

Table 2.

Chemical composition of ‘Mardía’ as compared with other cultivars.

Table 2.

Roasting has been tested by the industry “Almendras Castillo de Loarre” for appetizer use. Behavior has been good, although less than in the favorite one in the Spanish market, ‘Desmayo Largueta’. Kernel taste, both raw and roasted, is excellent.

Availability

This cultivar has been presented to patent on 11 Dec. 2007 at the Spanish Registry of Protected Cultivars and is available to nurseries though provisional licenses by Geslive, A.I.E. (C. Juan de Mena 19-3°-D, 28014, Madrid, Spain).

Literature Cited

  • Alonso, J.M., Ansón, J.M., Espiau, M.T. & Socias i Company, R. 2005 Determination of endodormancy break in almond flower buds by a correlation model using the average temperature of different day intervals and its application to the estimation of chill and heat requirements and blooming date J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 130 308 318

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Alonso, J.M. & Socias i Company, R. 2008 Chill and heat requirements for blooming of the CITA almond cultivars Acta Hort. (in press).

  • Alonso Segura, J.M. & Socias i Company, R. 2007 Negative inbreeding effects in tree fruit breeding: Self-compatibility transmission in almond Theor. Appl. Genet. 115 151 158

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Felipe, A.J. 1988 Observaciones sobre comportamiento frente a heladas tardías en almendro Rap. EUR 11557 123 130

  • Felipe, A.J. 2000 El almendro. I. El material vegetal Integrum, Lleida Spain

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  • Felipe, A.J. & Socias i Company, R. 1987 ‘Aylés’, ‘Guara’, and ‘Moncayo’ almonds HortScience 22 961 962

  • Grasselly, C., Crossa-Raynaud, P., Olivier, G. & Gall, H. 1981 Transmission du caractère d'autocompatibilité chez l'amandier Options Méditerr. CIHEAM/IAMZ 81 71 75

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kester, D.E. & Griggs, W.H. 1959 Fruit setting in the almond: The effect of cross-pollinating various percentages of flowers Proc. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 74 214 219

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2005 Daños diferenciales por heladas en flores y frutos y criterios de selección para la tolerancia a heladas en el almendro Inf. Técn. Econ. Agrar. 101 349 365

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2006 Influence of genotype, year and type of fruiting branches on the productive behaviour of almond Scientia Hort. 109 297 302

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2008a Fruit set evaluation for self-compatibility selection in almond Scientia Hort. 118 260 265

  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2008b Significance of flower bud density for cultivar evaluation in almond HortScience 43 1753 1758

  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2008c Variability of oil content and major fatty acid composition in almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) and its relationship with kernel quality J. Agr. Food Chem. 56 4096 4101

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O., Socias i Company, R., Prats, M.S. & López Ortiz, M.C. 2006 Variability in tocopherol concentrations in almond oil and its use as a selection criterion in almond breeding J. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol. 81 501 507

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MAPA 2002 Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. 2002 <http//www.mapya.es/agric/pags/semillas/vivero/almendro.pdf>.

    • Export Citation
  • 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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Socias i Company, R. & Felipe, A.J. 2007 ‘Belona’ and ‘Soleta’ almonds HortScience 42 704 706

  • Socias i Company, R., Felipe, A.J. & Gómez Aparisi, J. 1999 A major gene for flowering time in almond Plant Breed. 118 443 448

  • 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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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Contributor Notes

The long-term work to develop this cultivar has been funded by successive research projects, most recently AGL2007-65853-C02-02 of the Spanish CICYT, and the activity of the Consolidated Research Group A12 of Aragón.

We appreciate the technical work of J.M. Ansón, M.T. Espiau, J. Búbal, and A. Escota as well as the collaboration of the industries “Frutos Secos Alcañiz” and “Castillo de Loarre,” the growers of the external trials, mainly J.L. Sánchez and J.A. Espiau, and the collaboration of J.L. Espada and P. Castañer (Centro de Transferencia Agroalimentaria de Aragón) and G. Valdés (Estació Experimental Agrària, Elx) in the experimental orchards.

To whom reprint requests should be addressed; e-mail rsocias@aragon.es

  • View in gallery

    Mean flowering time of ‘Mardía’ as related to other cultivars (7-year average). Percentages refer to the amount of flowers opened.

  • View in gallery

    Nut and kernel of ‘Mardía’.

  • Alonso, J.M., Ansón, J.M., Espiau, M.T. & Socias i Company, R. 2005 Determination of endodormancy break in almond flower buds by a correlation model using the average temperature of different day intervals and its application to the estimation of chill and heat requirements and blooming date J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 130 308 318

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Alonso, J.M. & Socias i Company, R. 2008 Chill and heat requirements for blooming of the CITA almond cultivars Acta Hort. (in press).

  • Alonso Segura, J.M. & Socias i Company, R. 2007 Negative inbreeding effects in tree fruit breeding: Self-compatibility transmission in almond Theor. Appl. Genet. 115 151 158

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Felipe, A.J. 1988 Observaciones sobre comportamiento frente a heladas tardías en almendro Rap. EUR 11557 123 130

  • Felipe, A.J. 2000 El almendro. I. El material vegetal Integrum, Lleida Spain

    • Export Citation
  • Felipe, A.J. & Socias i Company, R. 1987 ‘Aylés’, ‘Guara’, and ‘Moncayo’ almonds HortScience 22 961 962

  • Grasselly, C., Crossa-Raynaud, P., Olivier, G. & Gall, H. 1981 Transmission du caractère d'autocompatibilité chez l'amandier Options Méditerr. CIHEAM/IAMZ 81 71 75

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kester, D.E. & Griggs, W.H. 1959 Fruit setting in the almond: The effect of cross-pollinating various percentages of flowers Proc. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 74 214 219

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2005 Daños diferenciales por heladas en flores y frutos y criterios de selección para la tolerancia a heladas en el almendro Inf. Técn. Econ. Agrar. 101 349 365

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2006 Influence of genotype, year and type of fruiting branches on the productive behaviour of almond Scientia Hort. 109 297 302

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2008a Fruit set evaluation for self-compatibility selection in almond Scientia Hort. 118 260 265

  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2008b Significance of flower bud density for cultivar evaluation in almond HortScience 43 1753 1758

  • Kodad, O. & Socias i Company, R. 2008c Variability of oil content and major fatty acid composition in almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) and its relationship with kernel quality J. Agr. Food Chem. 56 4096 4101

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kodad, O., Socias i Company, R., Prats, M.S. & López Ortiz, M.C. 2006 Variability in tocopherol concentrations in almond oil and its use as a selection criterion in almond breeding J. Hort. Sci. Biotechnol. 81 501 507

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MAPA 2002 Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. 2002 <http//www.mapya.es/agric/pags/semillas/vivero/almendro.pdf>.

    • Export Citation
  • 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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Socias i Company, R. & Felipe, A.J. 2007 ‘Belona’ and ‘Soleta’ almonds HortScience 42 704 706

  • Socias i Company, R., Felipe, A.J. & Gómez Aparisi, J. 1999 A major gene for flowering time in almond Plant Breed. 118 443 448

  • 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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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