Modern orchards in Israel are based on one old local cultivar, Um ElFahem (≈70%), and its pollenizers ‘Kochav’, ‘Gilad’, ‘Shefa’, and ‘Kochba’. All of them are locally bred cultivars. Because of their inconsistent flowering periods that vary with year and the constantly changing climatic conditions, two pollinating cultivars are customarily used in current orchards to cover the early and late flowering stages of ‘Um ElFahem’. Thus, at present, about one-third of the orchard area is devoted to pollenizers and not all of them of satisfactory quality. All of those pollenizers are highly adapted to the Israeli climate and yield sweet kernels that are favored by the Israeli costumer. Over the last decades, 40 commercial and newly bred cultivars were introduced from France, Spain, and the United States. None of them performed well under the growing conditions of Israel. Among the tested cultivars, the self-compatible ‘Lauranne’ and ‘Guara’ were found to be highly productive but their nut quality could not compete with that of the Israeli cultivars (Birger, 2000; Holland et al., 2003, 2006). In Israel, ‘Um ElFahem’ and its pollenizers flower during the rainy season. Cloudy, cold, and rainy hours limit the efficiency of honeybees’ activity and of pollen germination, and thus pollination is negatively affected. The reliance of the almond growers solely on one cultivar on one hand, and on pollinating vectors, namely honeybees, on the other hand, are two major disadvantages that affect the production. These drawbacks raised the need for new good-quality self-pollinating Israeli cultivars that contain the dominant Sf allele (Lὁpez et al., 2001). Here, we describe the characteristics of ‘Matan’, a newly bred cultivar, with self-compatibility producing high yield, large size, and sweet kernels.
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Royal Horticultural Society 1986 R.H.S. color chart. Royal Horticultural Society, London; Flower Council of Holland, Leiden