Southern highbush blueberries result from hybridizations among the northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) and other Vaccinium spp. possessing southern U.S. adaptation attributes. Southern highbush blueberry cultivars provide southern blueberry producers advantages over the native rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum Ait.), the foundation of the southern blueberry industry for the last century. Cultivars possessing attributes including high fruit quality and early ripening period provide growers greater assurance of participating in the more lucrative U.S. fresh market as opposed to processing markets. ‘Pearl’ is a new southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium spp. hybrid) developed and released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) that is a midseason southern highbush blueberry cultivar possessing favorable fruit quality attributes including very large (greater than 3 g) light blue berries having very good flavor and firmness, small picking scars, and a ripening period that is 10 to 14 d earlier than the earliest ripening rabbiteye blueberry cultivars. ‘Pearl’ has additional use in that it can be either hand or mechanically harvested.
Spiers, J.M., Gupton, C.L. & Draper, A.D. 1996 ‘Jubilee’, ‘Magnolia’, and ‘Pearl River’ southern highbush blueberries Acta Hort. 446 155 157