Presenting Prince, a New Blueberry Cultivar
November 17, 2008
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientists have released a new early-ripening rabbiteye blueberry cultivar
that, when grown with other blueberry varieties, will extend the growing and
harvesting season in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.
The new variety, named Prince, was developed at the
Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, Miss. and tested in Stone
County and McNeil, Miss., by
Stringer, a research geneticist at the Poplarville lab. Prince produced
high scores when tested over three years in several categories including color,
firmness, flavor and size.
The Mississippi climatewith occasional early spring frosts and
excessive heat and humiditycan be brutal on blueberry farming. Prince
tends to have an extended bloom period, providing insurance against early
spring frost. It is also more adapted to the regions hot and humid
climate than other varieties. Most notably, Prince ripens four to five days
earlier than the earliest-ripening rabbiteye blueberry varieties, allowing
growers to capitalize on the lucrative early-season, fresh-blueberry market
A cross between MS 598 and Florida 80-11, Prince blueberries are medium in
size and color with a mild flavor and less tartness than many other rabbiteye
varieties. The cultivar was named Prince as a result of observations by retired
ARS scientist and blueberry breeder Arlen Draper, who often commented that one
has to kiss a lot of frogs before finding a prince.
Prince is the latest blueberry variety to be released by the ARS Poplarville
lab. After Hurricane Camille wiped out the regions tung oil industry in
1969, ARS scientists looked to blueberries to help growers overcome the
economic loss. Today, blueberry growers along the Gulf Coast enjoy a
competitive advantage over northern growers, since they are among the first to
provide fruit for the fresh blueberry market as well as for processing and
A limited supply of one-year-old plants is available to nurserymen for
propagation and sale to growers.
ARS is a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.