Pecan Kernel Color: Standards Using the Munsell Color Notation System

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Pecan Genetics and Improvement Research, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Route 2, Box 133, Somerville, TX 77879

The Munsell Color System was used to define pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] kernel colors and color changes for 21 clones, 11 locations, and 4 storage methods for nuts collected over a 4-year period. Hue readings ranged from 10.0 (10 red) to 22.5 (2.5 yellow). Value readings ranged from 2.5 to 8.0, and chroma readings ranged from 1.0 to 8.0. A total of 91 color chips (individual combinations of hue, value, and chroma) were needed to describe kernel color variability. In 1987 and 1988, one color [15.0/5/4 (hue/value/chroma)] accounted for 3,979 of the 32,078 readings taken, and the 15 most common colors accounted for 80.7% of all the readings. The Munsell system of color determination was well suited for pecan color determinations. A simplified color rating system with only six color classes was developed for general use by the pecan industry. This system is also routinely used in our breeding and genetics program to define this very important quality trait in pecan.

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