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Each year a wide variety of new cultivars and species are evaluated in the National Cut Flower Trial Programs administered by North Carolina State University and the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Stems of promising and productive cultivars from the National Trial Program were pretreated with either a commercial hydrating solution or deionized (DI) water and placed in either a commercial holding solution or DI water. Over 8 years, the vase life of 121 cultivars representing 47 cut flower genera was determined. Although there was cultivar variation within each genus, patterns of postharvest responses have emerged. The largest category, with 53 cultivars, was one in which a holding preservative increased vase life of the following genera and species: acidanthera (Gladiolus murielae), basil (Ocimum basilicum), bee balm (Monarda hybrid), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hybrids), campanula (Campanula species), celosia (Celosia argentea), common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), coral bells (Heuchera hybrids), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), ladybells (Adenophora hybrid), lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), lobelia (Lobelia hybrids), obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum), pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea), pinkflower (Indigofera amblyantha), seven-sons flower (Heptacodium miconioides), shasta daisy (Leucanthemum superbum), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), sweet william (Dianthus hybrids), trachelium (Trachelium caeruleum), and zinnia (Zinnia elegans). Hydrating preservatives increased the vase life of four basils, coral bells, and sunflower cultivars. The combined use of hydrator and holding preservatives increased the vase life of three black-eyed susan, seven-sons flower, and sunflower cultivars. Holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 14 cultivars of the following genera and species: ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), false queen anne's lace (Ammi species), knotweed (Persicaria hybrid), lisianthus, pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), yarrow (Achillea millifolium), and zinnia. Hydrating preservatives reduced the vase life of 18 cultivars of the following genera and species: feverfew, lisianthus, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, seven-sons flower, shasta daisy, sneezeweed, sweet william, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. The combined use of hydrating and holding preservatives reduced the vase life of 12 cultivars in the following genera and species: false queen anne's lace, feverfew, pincushion flower, sneezeweed, sunflower, trachelium, yarrow, and zinnia. Data for the remaining 50 cultivars were not significant among the treatments; these genera and species included beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), black-eyed susan, blue mist (Caryopteris clandonensis), calendula (Calendula officinalis), campanula, cleome (Cleome hasserliana), common ninebark, dahlia (Dahlia hybrids), delphinium (Delphinium hybrids), flowering peach (Prunus persica forma versicolor), heliopsis (Heliopsis helianthoides), hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum), himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa), hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), larkspur (Consolida hybrids), lily of the nile (Agapanthus hybrid), lisianthus, lobelia, ornamental pepper, pineapple lily, scented geranium (Pelargonium hybrid), sunflower, sweet william, and zinnia.

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Confirming parentage and clonal identity is an important aspect of breeding and managing germplasm collections of clonally propagated, outcrossing crops, like blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus). DNA fingerprinting sets are used to identify off-cross progeny and confirm clonal identity. Previously, a six-simple sequence repeat (6-SSR) fingerprinting set was developed for blackberry using a small number of samples. The usefulness of the 6-SSR fingerprinting set for pedigree confirmation had not been evaluated. Therefore, it was used in this study to validate parentage for 6 and 12 biparental populations from the University of Arkansas (UA) and US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Horticultural Crops Research Unit (HCRU) breeding programs, respectively. Twenty-seven of the 489 individuals in these breeding populations were identified as off-cross. The 6-SSR fingerprinting set was sufficient for parentage confirmation; however, a total of 61 plants distributed across 28 sets of genotypes could not be distinguished from each other. An 8-SSR fingerprinting set with improved resolution was subsequently developed and used to evaluate 177 Rubus accessions from the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository, UA, and USDA-ARS HCRU programs. The 8-SSR fingerprinting set distinguished all samples expected to have unique genotypes and identified differing DNA fingerprints for two sets of accessions suspected to have identical fingerprints. Cluster analysis grouped the accessions from the eastern and western US breeding programs based on geography and descent. Future work will focus on establishing a database of DNA fingerprints for germplasm identification and for determining pedigree relationships between blackberry accessions.

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Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.), rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade), and southern highbush (Vaccinium spp.) blueberries grown at seven locations in six southern states were sampled in 1988 and 1989 to determine foliar elemental levels among blueberry cultivars and types. Across locations, elemental levels of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, and Al were similar for highbush and southern highbush types. Rabbiteye elemental levels were different from highbush and southern highbush for N, P, K, Ca, S, Mn, Cu, and Al. Rabbiteye blueberries appear to have different foliar levels, and may require species-specific standards for nutritional monitoring of plantings.

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We conducted audience surveys at three major peach producer meetings across the United States. We found that the relative importance assigned to fruit quality and tree traits by producers varied across producers’ end markets. Fresh peach producers indicated fruit flavor and size were the most important fruit quality traits, whereas processed peach producers viewed fruit size, fruit firmness, and absence of split pits as being the most important traits for a successful peach cultivar. These results have potential to ensure that peach breeding programs are consonant with fresh and processed peach producers’ needs for fruit and tree traits.

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