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Astrid Newenhouse and Helen Harrison

The primary goal of this project is to introduce various citizenry groups within Wisconsin to new and potentially profitable alternative crops and production systems, and to acquaint them with crops and ornamental which may be common in Europe and Asia but which have not been extensively grown in our region. Approximately 50 new cultivars of gourmet vegetables, edible flowers, everlasting flowers, fresh cut flowers, and ornamental grasses were field tested 3 years for their adaptability for home and market gardens in Wisconsin. Cultivars were chosen for their unique flavor, color, shape, or texture. Greenhouse grown plants were transplanted onto black plastic mulch, with an annual rye–grass living mulch planted between crop rows. Aside from carbaryl and Bacillus thuringiensis used for cole crop insect control, no chemical pesticides or herbicides were used. Data taken includes notes on production, climate adaptability, disease and insect stress, maturation date, color, taste, and texture. Regional interest has been widespread from various groups including growers for gourmet restaurants, farmers market producers, garden clubs, youth organizations, and urban gardeners..

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Todd C. Wehner

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) breeders have provided growers with many useful cultivars since production began in the U. S. in the 1600s. The objective of this study was to determine how much breeding progress has been made for yield, earliness, quality, and anthracnose resistance. The experiment was a split-split-split plot in a randomized complete block with 3 replications. Treatments were 2 years (1989, 1990), 2 seasons (spring, summer), 2 production systems (stress, elite), and 14 cultivars (2 important ones from each of 7 time periods, from 1786 to 1982). Plants were grown at Clinton, N. C. using recommended cultural practices, except for the stress treatment, which received half the recommended amount of fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticides. Total yield over 8 harvests increased from approximately 20 Mg/ha for the old cultivars to 30 Mg/ha for the new cultivars. Similar increases were measured for marketable and early yield. Fruit quality (rated 1 to 9) also was improved by breeding, with shape improved 2, and fruit color improved 3 rating points. Part of the improvement in yield was probably due to improved anthracnose resistance. However, improved yield also was obtained in the spring season where anthracnose was absent. In conclusion, the relatively small cucumber breeding effort produced large gains for most traits measured.

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C.S. Prakash, G. He, and R. Jarret

The PCR-based DNA amplification fingerprinting (DAF) approach was used to investigate the evolutionary relationships among 30 U.S. sweetpotato cultivars. Phenogram and pairwise similarity matrix based on Jaccard's coefficients showed relationships among U.S. cultivars and their progenitors to be consistent with the pedigree history. The genetic variability of U.S. cultivars was relatively low (compared to a sample of global collection). Many older U.S. cultivars formed a cluster in the principal coordinate analysis, suggesting their narrow genetic base, but new cultivars, such as `Regal' and `Excel', showed greater divergence. Somatic mutants showed close genetic similarity with their wild types and yet distinct in fingerprint profiles (e.g., `Resisto' and `Copper Resisto'; `Redmar' and `Goldmar'). All cultivars showed unique DAF profiles, and thus, the DAF approach enabled cultivar identification. `Centennial' showed high similarity to major U.S. cultivars such as `Jewel' and `Rojo Blanco'. `Regal' and its open-pollinated offspring `Excel' showed high similarity with each other. `Jewel', the most leading sweetpotato cultivar in the United States, clustered closely to its parent `Nugget' (83%). Carver, a selection from a cross `Centennial' × `Jewel', showed 75% similarity with `Jewel' and 63% similarity to `Centennial'. `Scarlet', a mutant of `Jewel', appeared in the same cluster as `Jewel' but showed only 68% similarity. Our results show that DAF may be an useful approach in elucidating evolutionary relationships among sweetpotato cultivars.

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Raymond L. Granger, Y. Groleau, C. Fortin, Gilles L. Rousselle, and L.P.S. Spangelo

`QAS-13' is an advanced apple selection that has a proven performance and is in the process of becoming a new cultivar that carries the Vf gene for resistance to apple scab (Venturia inaequalis Cke. Wint.) derived from `Malus floribunda 821'. It combines field immunity to scab and cold tolerance under Quebec climate and soil conditions. The Ott.521 (Melba x 11-51) x `Spartan' cross was made in Ottawa in 1968. The fruits are very attractive and exhibit a smooth and shiny finish somewhat similar to that of `Spartan'. Their glossy, medium- to dark-red color is slightly striped over a greenish-yellow background and covers up to 85% of the fruit surface. Their picking season coincides with that of `Spartan', which is ≈1 week before that of `Red Delicious'. They are round-oblate to oblate in shape with an average diameter of 70 to 75 mm and weigh ≈140 g/fruit. The skin is smooth, thin, and moderately tough, with widely spaced conspicuous beige lenticels. Both the stem and calyx cavities are fairly deep. The stem resembles that of `McIntosh'. the `QAS-13' apples keep better than `McIntosh' apples both in CA and air storages. Taste panelists have consistently ranked the `QAS-13' apples above `McIntosh' apples both at harvest and after storage. The `QAS-13' trees are less vigorous than those of `McIntosh', but more productive. However, they have exhibited a slight susceptibility to frog eye leaf spot (Botryosphaeria obtusa) similar to that of `McIntosh'.

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R.L. Fery

The U. S. Department of Agriculture released the small-seeded, cream-type southernpea cultivar Green Pixie on 4 Mar. 1999. The new cultivar is homozygous for the gc gene conditioning the green cotyledon trait. `Green Pixie' seeds can be harvested at the dry stage of maturity without loss of their fresh green color. `Green Pixie' originated as a bulk of an F9 (`White Acre' × `Bettergreen') population grown in 1994. `Green Pixie' has a high, bushy plant habit similar to `White Acre'. It produces dry pods at Charleston, S.C., in ≈76 days, 5 days later that `Bettergreen' and 5 days earlier than `White Acre'. The rhomboid-kidney shape of fresh `Green Pixie' seeds is quite similar to the shape of fresh `White Acre' seeds, but very different from the ovate to reniform shape of fresh `Bettergreen' seeds. `Green Pixie' seeds are quite similar in size to `White Acre' seeds, but much smaller than `Bettergreen' seeds (weight per 100 dry seeds: `Green Pixie', 8.0 g; `White Acre', 7.9 g; and `Bettergreen', 10.2 g). The results of replicated field trials indicate that the yield potential of `Green Pixie' is equal to that of `Bettergreen' and `White Acre'. `Green Pixie' is the first cream-type, green-cotyledon cultivar to be developed that yields seeds that are similar in size and shape to `White Acre' seeds. It is recommended for trial as a replacement for `White Acre' when grown to produce raw product for a frozen pack.

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Gerson R. de L. Fortes, Nilvane T.G. Müller, Eliane Augustin, João B. Silva, José A. Peters, and Rejane Flores

Asparagus is a vegetable of great economic importance. It is a dioecius and perennial species mainly propagated by seeds, which makes difficult the breeding work as far as results are concerned. New biotechnological techniques such as tissue culture have been used in order to shorten the release of new cultivars. On the order hand, this process depends mainly on the rooting phase, which, for this species, is to some extent difficult. The aim of this work was to verify the influence of spear number on asparagus rooting. Two genotypes were studied: Clone M14 and cv. Deco, which is a hybrid (M14 × G27). These genotypes were tested with one, two, three, and four spears in a medium containing in mg/L: NAA (0.1); kinetin (2.0); ancymidol (0.5). Sucrose was added to 30 g/L and agar at 6.0 g/L. The pH was adjusted to 5.9. The evaluations were performed 30 days later. Four-spear asparagus rooted better than the others; it was also observed longer roots for this treatment. Clone M14 rooted better than cv. Deco. These results show the importance of the starting explants to improve the in vitro rooting in asparagus.

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R.J. Campbell and C. de B. Campbell

Mango (Mangifera indica L.) currently ranks fifth, along with apple, among fresh fruit imported by the United States, with more than 142,000 MT imported in 1995. Imports have doubled in the past 5 years and are projected to increase by 20% to 30% by the year 2000. Mexico supplied >80% of the imported volume in 1995, with the remaining 20% supplied by Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. Individual production areas (countries) have traditionally controlled a market, defined by time of year, resulting in a near 12-month supply of mangos in the United States in the past few years. However, market share among producing countries is rapidly changing as individual producers and production regions extend their season through the use of different available microclimates, bloom manipulation, and new cultivars. With this extension of production season in each region, there is now significant market overlap and traditional regional windows have been shortened or eliminated. Producers in all regions must now make timely management decisions to assure their future profitability. A holistic management scheme involving attention to fruit quality, cultivar selection, volume consistency, and marketing is presented. Such a management plan is key to an individual region's success in establishing and holding a given market window.

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Dan E. Parfitt, Chih-Cheng T. Chao, Craig Kallsen, Joe Maranto, and Louise Ferguson

A pistachio breeding program was initiated in 1989 to develop new cultivars for the California industry. The program was begun with an initial set of 1940 progeny from 78 crosses. In 1990, an additional 5470 seedlings were produced from 176 controlled crosses. Progeny were planted at Winters, Calif., Kearney Agr. Center, and a plot near Bakersfield in a randomized block design with crosses as treatments. Fifty-three, 962, and 2943 genotypes flowered in 1994, 1995, and 1996, respectively. Data on flowering, flowering date, sex, tree size as measured by trunk cross-section area, and disease status were collected on all trees in the breeding program at the three field locations. Nuts were collected and evaluated for number of nuts/tree, % splits, % blanks, wet and dry weight, kernel weight, and volume. Heritability estimates for nut characters, tree size, and Alternaria resistance were ranged from 0.30 to 0.76. Several parents were identified that apparently provide a high level of resistance to Alternaria. Relationships among various nut parameters and the relationship of tree size to flowering and parentage were also investigated and evaluated statistically. Replicated advanced selection trials will be established in 1997.

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Duane W. Greene

Over 225 apple cultivars grown at the Horticultural Research Center in Belchertown have been evaluated for fruit quality and fruit characteristics. Methods used to determine fruit characteristics and organoleptic assessment will be presented. The postharvest potential of the most promising apples will be presented. Two apples ripen about the first of September and show promise for early market. `Sansa' is a medium-sized red apple that ripens about the first of September. It is a high-quality apple with characteristics similar to `Gala'. `Ginger Gold' is a large, firm, mild-flavored, russet-free, yellow apple. `Honeycrisp' is a red apple that ripens in mid-September, before `McIntosh'. It is a large, mild-flavored apple that is sometimes erratic in red color development. It maintains firmness and explosive crispness out of storage better than any other apple evaluated. `Golden Supreme' is an extremely attractive, russet-free `Golden Delicious' type ripening 7 to 10 days before `Golden Delicious'. When ripe it has a very aromatic, fruity flavor. It stores better than `Golden Delicious'. Other apples with merit that have commercial potential include: `Hampshire', `Shizuka', `Cameo', `Creston', `Coop 25', `Coop 29', and `Braeburn'. `Pink Lady' is a very late maturing, new cultivar that is being heavily planted in other areas. Although it does mature here, based upon starch rating, fruit size is small, the flesh is dry and very tart, and taste is only fair.

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Paul R. Fantz and Donglin Zhang

Horticultural Science in the past quarter of a century has been shifting to increased emphasis on ornamental plants due to the growth of the modern green industry. Numerous species are being introduced into the exterior and interior landscapes. For popular species, the cultivar, as defined by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP), has become the basic taxon of cultivated plants. Named ornamental plant cultivars are rising at a rapid rate creating identification and segregation problems in the landscape industry, nurseries, botanic gardens, arboreta, and breeding programs. Government regulations and legal issues are beginning to infringe as solutions to the problems. There is a critical need existing for taxonomic research on ornamental cultivars utilizing classical morphological analysis supplemented with modern biotechnological techniques (e.g., anatomical, chemical, cytological, DNA, Sem analysis). Taxonomic research on existing and newer cultivars can provide quantitative botanical descriptions, keys of segregation, correct identification, determination of correct names and synonymy, improved cultivar documentation, and grouping of similar cultivars in large complexes. The taxonomic research is basic science that has immediate applied application within the horticultural society, and results should be published in the journals of ASHS.