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New Book Catalogs Peach, Nectarine Varieties / December 18, 1998 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Flameprince peaches.

New Book Catalogs Peach, Nectarine Varieties

By Tara Weaver
December 18, 1998

Peach growers and breeders have a new “at-your-fingertips” resource: a handbook that describes in detail some 700 peach and nectarine varieties--from 'AC Harflame' to 'Zorrito.'

Horticulturist W. R. Okie with the Agricultural Research Service authored the 808-page book, Handbook of Peach and Nectarine Varieties (Agricultural Research Service Handbook #714). ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Okie is based at ARS’ Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Ga. He compiled the book for commercial and hobby growers, domestic and foreign breeders, and other peach researchers and extension workers. It updates and greatly expands the 25-year-old peach variety bulletin published by Savage and Prince. It's the most comprehensive book of its kind since Peaches of New York, published in 1917.

The handbook gives detailed leaf, flower and fruit information. Performance comments focus on varieties grown in the Southeast. But the book also describes the most prominent commercial varieties in other U.S. regions. It details all varieties released by U.S. public breeding programs, including those developed by ARS. An annotated index has brief descriptions of more than 6,000 varieties, including many obsolete and foreign peaches.

ARS has bred peaches adapted to the Southeast--as well as to California and the northeast--for more than 60 years. During that time, the scientists have released 64 peaches, 15 nectarines and three peach rootstocks. Many are grown commercially.

Scientists and commercial growers can request single copies of the handbook from Okie while supplies last. The publication is also available from the National Technical Information Service, publication number PB98-149602, phone (703) 605-6000,

Scientific contact: W. R. Okie, ARS Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, 21 Dunbar Rd., Byron, GA 31008, phone (912) 956-6405, fax (912) 956-2929,

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