Nectar Production of Cranberries: Genotypic Differences and Insensitivity to Soil Fertility

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Entomology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5413
  • | 2 Ocean Spray Cranberries, Rutgers University Blueberry/Cranberry Research Center, P.O. Box 493, Route 563, Chatsworth, NJ 08019

Cranberry flowers (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) require bee visitation for pollination. Bees visit cranberry flowers for nectar and sometimes pollen, but honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) in particular often work alternative co-flowering species for nectar, presumably because cranberry offers inferior nectar rewards. In a common garden setting, replicated plots of the cultivar Stevens were found to secrete significantly more nectar sugar (25% to 35% more) per flower than either `Ben Lear' or `Early Black', two other common commercial cultivars. The nectar secretion rate of `Stevens' was unaffected by a 4-fold range of fertilizer application rates over the preceding 2 years. These results are compared to studies of other crops involving varietal differences and programs of selective breeding for nectar secretion.

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