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- Author or Editor: Fernando de la Torre x
Vaccinium meridionale (section Pyxothamnus), a tetraploid species native to higher altitude locations in Jamaica, Colombia, and Venezuela, is of interest to Vaccinium breeders for its profuse, concentrated springtime flowering and monopodial plant structure, both of which may be useful in breeding for mechanical harvest. In this study, tetraploid V. meridionale was hybridized successfully as a male with 4x V. macrocarpon (section Oxycoccos, American cranberry). The first-generation hybrids with 4x cranberry were intermediate in morphology and notably vigorous. The 4x F1 hybrids displayed a vining plant structure, increased flower bud numbers, and white campanulate flowers. The F1 hybrids displayed modest fertility as females upon selfing and backcrossing to 4x V. macrocarpon. Evaluations of male fertility found good pollen production and a range of pollen quality ranging from very good to poor. Hybrids functioned well as males in crosses that used US 1930, a V. meridionale–V. vitis-idaea hybrid as the female. The fertility suggests that these hybrids, despite being derived from intersectional crosses, might be used conventionally in cranberry breeding without significant difficulty.