The evergreen (EVG) peach, first described in Mexico, was used as a parent with deciduous (DE) peaches to develop F1 and F2 hybrid populations in Mexico, Florida, Georgia, and West Virginia. F1 trees were DE and F2 plants segregated 3 DE: 1 EVG. In West Virginia, the most temperate location, the heterozygous class could be distinguished in the first few years of growth by late leaf abscission in the fall. Segregation ratios suggest that the EVG trait is controlled by a single gene, evg, the EVG state being homozygous recessive. Evergreen trees were characterized by insensitivity of shoot tips to daylength and failure of terminal growth to cease growth until killed by low temperature. Lateral buds of EVG trees went dormant in the fall. Deep supercooling occurred in both EVG and DE trees, but it appeared later in EVG trees, was of shorter duration, and occurred to a lesser extent. Evergreen germplasm may be useful in developing peach cultivars for frost-free subtropic and tropical areas. It also presents a useful system for studying dormancy and cold hardiness.
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