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Sydney Lykins, Katlynn Scammon, Brian T. Lawrence, and Juan Carlos Melgar

The photosynthetic light response of commercial blackberry cultivars (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) is largely unexplored, although they are frequently grown in full sun. In this experiment, light response curves of floricane leaves from the cultivars Natchez, Apache, Navaho, and Von were examined throughout the following production stages: before shiny black fruit were present (before harvest, BH), during peak production of fruit (peak harvest, PH), and when most fruit had fallen from plants or any remaining were dull black (after harvest, AH). Each cultivar was evaluated between an irradiance of 2000 and 0 μmol·m–2·s–1. The estimated maximum photosynthetic rate (photosynthetic capacity, P Nmax) was greater BH than AH across all cultivars, whereas ‘Natchez’ had a greater P Nmax BH and PH compared with the other cultivars. During AH, all cultivars had a similar P Nmax. The BH response curves declined under the highest irradiance measured, whereas the PH and AH response curves remained stable at similarly high irradiance. Of the four cultivars, Apache, Navaho, and Von appeared to be more photosynthetically limited than Natchez under increasing irradiance. Based on the cultivar-specific performance observed, blackberry response to light is a relevant trait that breeding programs should consider for improving cultivar adaptability to local and regional conditions.