Walnut ‘Esterhazy kesei’ for Small-scale Cultivation

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  • 1 Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Centre for Horticultural Sciences Research Centre for Fruit Growing, 1223 Budapest, Hungary
  • | 2 Ataturk University Agricultural Faculty Department of Horticulture, 25240 Erzurum, Turkey
  • | 3 Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Centre for Horticultural Sciences Research Centre for Fruit Growing, 1223 Budapest, Hungary
  • | 4 University of Sopron, Forest Research Institute, Sárvár, Várkerület 30/A, 9600, Hungary

Walnut ‘Esterhazy kesei’ has a late bloom as well as a pollen shedding period, enabling it to be grown successfully at more locations. As a result of some superior characteristics, such as late budbreak time, large nut size, excellent kernel characteristics, attractive appearance, and low yield, this variety can be planted in hobby gardens and landscapes.

Origin

The Carpathian Basin, where Hungary is located, is rich in Persian walnut (Juglans regia L.) genotypes, which ensure an excellent base for selection from the local population (Iordănescu et al., 2021; Trandafir and Cosmulescu, 2020). Walnut production

Walnut ‘Esterhazy kesei’ has a late bloom as well as a pollen shedding period, enabling it to be grown successfully at more locations. As a result of some superior characteristics, such as late budbreak time, large nut size, excellent kernel characteristics, attractive appearance, and low yield, this variety can be planted in hobby gardens and landscapes.

Origin

The Carpathian Basin, where Hungary is located, is rich in Persian walnut (Juglans regia L.) genotypes, which ensure an excellent base for selection from the local population (Iordănescu et al., 2021; Trandafir and Cosmulescu, 2020). Walnut production in Hungary started with the planting of seedlings of French-bred varieties at the beginning of 20th century. As a result of generative propagation until 1970, there was an opportunity for natural gene flow between the local walnut genotypes and the seedlings derived from the French varieties. One of the most grown genotypes derived from this mixed population was ‘Esterhazy II’, which comprised the Hungarian walnut industry at that time. ‘Esterhazy II’ had an early budbreak, making it possible to grow successfully on fruit sites, where the table grapes (Guld et al., 2019; Kupe et al., 2021) and apricot were produced (Karatas, et al., 2021; Mendelné and Mendel, 2021). There are several Esterhazy (its synonyms are Eszterházy and Eszterházi) cultivars on the National Variety List of German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), where they are currently important in backyard production (Böllersen, 2017). During collection it is possible to obtain some Esterhazy genotypes derived from progeny located in the western part of Hungary, which were observed and evaluated at our experimental orchard. From this collection, a variety called ‘Esterhazy kesei’ (“kesei” meaning late) was selected.

The experimental orchard was planted on chernozem soil with a high lime content (pH, 8; total lime content in the top 60-cm layer, 5%; humus content, 2.3% to 2.5%; Arany-type cohesion index, 40, which refers to medium compactness) and is established in Érd, Hungary (lat. 47°20′11″N, long. 18°51′53″E; elevation, 127 m above sea level). The US-bred standard cultivar Chandler was included in the trial as a reference cultivar. All observed trees were grafted on J. regia seedlings, with five replications of each in a 10- × 10-m spacing, trained as a central leader canopy. Phenological and pomological characteristics were collected between 2010 and 2021. During this period, the average yearly temperature was 11.4 °C, the average yearly temperature during the growing season (between March and September) was 16.7 °C, the number of days with frost during spring (between March and May) was 5.7 d/month, the average yearly precipitation was 548.1 mm, and the annual hours of sunshine was 2080 h.

Methods

Phenological and pomological traits of the cultivars included in the trial were evaluated using the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (2017) walnut descriptors. In addition, a new index called the cracking rate was introduced, which is the ratio of halves to the whole kernel weight. Furthermore, DNA fingerprint analysis was conducted using eight simple sequence repeat markers to determine the uniqueness of each genotype.

Description

‘Esterhazy kesei’ is an unknown pedigree plant selected from the local population (Supplemental Fig. 1). It has a late budbreak—11 d later than ‘Chandler’. Its first pollen shedding also starts 11 d later than the control variety. The first pistillate flowers of both varieties open almost at the same time (Supplemental Fig. 2). The rate of homogamy is high on ‘Esterhazy kesei’; thus, it can be planted without pollenizers, but there is no homogamy on ‘Chandler’, because there is a small window between the first male and female blooms. Approximately 15% to 30% of female flowers of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ appear on the lateral buds. This value is two to four times less compared with ‘Chandler’. Based on the flower characteristics, both genotypes are protandrous varieties. The harvest date of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ is 6 d before ‘Chandler’, which means it is in the third week of September. The difference in ratio of female flowers on the lateral buds and the high ratio of homogamy results in a low yield of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ compared with the control. There is no difference in tree vigor, growth habit, branching, and susceptibility to natural walnut blight infection; both varieties have intermediate tree vigor, a semierect growth habit, semidense branching, and are moderately susceptibility to natural walnut blight infection (Table 1).

Table 1.

Tree and phenological characteristics of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ in comparison with the standard cultivar Chandler.z

Table 1.

Nuts of the examined cultivars were large (nut length of both varieties, 38.3 mm; nut diameter, 36.8 mm for ‘Esterhazy kesei’ and 33.6 mm for ‘Chandler’) and round; their roundness index is 0.9. Nut width (diameter) of both varieties reaches the premium-grade categories, because these values are more than 32 mm. Both varieties had a light-brown shell color, and their shell surface was moderately grooved. There were no significant differences in shell thickness. Shell strength was intermediate. The dried nut weight of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ was heavier (14.5 g/dried nut) than ‘Chandler’ (11.9 g/dried nut). ‘Esterhazy kesei’ produced a heavier kernel (6.7 g/kernel) compared with ‘Chandler’ (5.5 g/kernel). No significant difference in kernel percentage and in the cracking index of both varieties was observed. It was easy to remove the yellowish white kernels of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ and ‘Chandler’ from their shells (Table 2, Fig. 1).

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Nuts of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ walnut.

Citation: HortScience 57, 4; 10.21273/HORTSCI16504-22

Table 2.

Nut and kernel traits of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ in comparison with standard cultivar Chandler.z

Table 2.

Availability

On application for registration as a landrace variety, ‘Esterhazy kesei’ with its official description was added to the National Catalogue in 2022. Propagation trials testing “traditional” hand-grafting propagation started in 2019. Virus-free material is available in the nuclear stock of the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Center for Fruit Growing.

Literature Cited

  • Böllersen, V 2017 Revival der Walnuss [Revival of walnut] Sortenkalatog [variety register] Organischer Landbau Verlag Kevelaer, Germany [in German]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Guld, Z., Rácz, A., Tima, H., Kállay, M. & Nyitrainé Sárdy, D. 2019 Effects of aging in oak barrels on the trans-resveratrol and anthocyanin concentration of red wines from Hungary Acta Aliment. Hung. 3 349 357 https://doi.org/10.1556/066.2019.0004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Iordănescu, O.A., Radulov, I., Buhan, P., Cocan, I., Berbecea, I., Popescu, A.A., Poșta, I., Camen, D.S., Lalescu, D. & Physical, D. 2021 Nutritional and functional properties of walnuts genotypes (Juglans regia L.) from Romania Agronomy (Basel) 11 1092 https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061092

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Karatas, N., Ercisli, S. & Bozhuyuk, M.R. 2021 Assessment of morphological traits, nutritional and nutraceutical composition in fruits of 18 apricot cv. Sekerpare clones Sustainability (Basel) 13 11385 https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011385

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kupe, M., Karatas, N., Unal, M.S., Ercisli, S., Baron, M. & Sochor, J. 2021 Nutraceutical and functional properties of peel, pulp, and seed extracts of six ‘Köhnü’ grape clones Horticulturae 7 346 https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100346

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mendelné, P.E. & Mendel, A. 2021 Ceglédi Bájos: The new Hungarian-bred apricot cultivar HortScience 56 1 2 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI16055-21

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trandafir, I. & Cosmulescu, S. 2020 Total phenolic content, antioxidant capacity and individual phenolic compounds of defatted kernel from different cultivars of walnut Erwerbs-Obstbau 62 309 314 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10341-020-00501-1

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 2017 Guidelines for the conduct of tests for distinctness, uniformity, and stability 18 22 TG/125/5proj5 International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Geneva, Switzerland

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Supplemental Fig. 1.
Supplemental Fig. 1.

Genetic distance-based unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram of the selected ‘Esterhazy’ compared to some Hungarian and three foreign cultivars using eight simple sequence repeat markers. Genetically closer genotypes are grouped in three separated branches. A = ‘Alsószentiváni’; M = ‘Milotai’; T = ‘Tiszacsécsi’; E = ‘Esterhazy’.

Citation: HortScience 57, 4; 10.21273/HORTSCI16504-22

Supplemental Fig. 2.
Supplemental Fig. 2.

Phenogram of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ in comparison with standard cultivar Chandler.

Citation: HortScience 57, 4; 10.21273/HORTSCI16504-22

Contributor Notes

G.B. is the corresponding author. E-mail: bujdoso.geza@uni-mate.hu.

  • View in gallery

    Nuts of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ walnut.

  • View in gallery

    Genetic distance-based unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram of the selected ‘Esterhazy’ compared to some Hungarian and three foreign cultivars using eight simple sequence repeat markers. Genetically closer genotypes are grouped in three separated branches. A = ‘Alsószentiváni’; M = ‘Milotai’; T = ‘Tiszacsécsi’; E = ‘Esterhazy’.

  • View in gallery

    Phenogram of ‘Esterhazy kesei’ in comparison with standard cultivar Chandler.

  • Böllersen, V 2017 Revival der Walnuss [Revival of walnut] Sortenkalatog [variety register] Organischer Landbau Verlag Kevelaer, Germany [in German]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Guld, Z., Rácz, A., Tima, H., Kállay, M. & Nyitrainé Sárdy, D. 2019 Effects of aging in oak barrels on the trans-resveratrol and anthocyanin concentration of red wines from Hungary Acta Aliment. Hung. 3 349 357 https://doi.org/10.1556/066.2019.0004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Iordănescu, O.A., Radulov, I., Buhan, P., Cocan, I., Berbecea, I., Popescu, A.A., Poșta, I., Camen, D.S., Lalescu, D. & Physical, D. 2021 Nutritional and functional properties of walnuts genotypes (Juglans regia L.) from Romania Agronomy (Basel) 11 1092 https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061092

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Karatas, N., Ercisli, S. & Bozhuyuk, M.R. 2021 Assessment of morphological traits, nutritional and nutraceutical composition in fruits of 18 apricot cv. Sekerpare clones Sustainability (Basel) 13 11385 https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011385

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kupe, M., Karatas, N., Unal, M.S., Ercisli, S., Baron, M. & Sochor, J. 2021 Nutraceutical and functional properties of peel, pulp, and seed extracts of six ‘Köhnü’ grape clones Horticulturae 7 346 https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100346

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mendelné, P.E. & Mendel, A. 2021 Ceglédi Bájos: The new Hungarian-bred apricot cultivar HortScience 56 1 2 https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI16055-21

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trandafir, I. & Cosmulescu, S. 2020 Total phenolic content, antioxidant capacity and individual phenolic compounds of defatted kernel from different cultivars of walnut Erwerbs-Obstbau 62 309 314 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10341-020-00501-1

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 2017 Guidelines for the conduct of tests for distinctness, uniformity, and stability 18 22 TG/125/5proj5 International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Geneva, Switzerland

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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