Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 2, 2004
Publication Date: January 2, 2004
Citation: Ehlenfeldt, M.K., Rowland, L.J. 2004. Cold-hardiness of vaccinium ashei and v. constablaei germplasm and the potential for northern-adapted rabbiteye cultivars. Acta Horticulturae. Paper No. 38. Technical Abstract: Cold hardiness evaluations were recently completed on a range of blueberry germplasm. Two notable determinations were the extreme cold-hardiness of V. constablaei populations, and the exceptional cold-hardiness of Little Giant, a V. constablaei x V. ashei hybrid. In recent years, the USDA has generated V. ashei and V. constablaei derivatives to provide late-flowering, early-ripening rabbiteye germplasm for the southern U.S.; however, this germplasm has also performed well in New Jersey, and could potentially provide northern-adapted rabbiteye types. Rabbiteye has great vigor, heat adaptation, excellent fruit quality (except for grittiness), early flowering, and late ripening. V. constablaei is very slow to flower, relatively early-ripening, and also has good fruit quality. When combined, these germplasms complement each other in many respects. Particularly notable is the elimination of the objectionable grittiness in hybrid derivative fruit. Hybrids are late flowering, mid- to late-ripening, and tend to be both dark and small-fruited. It is expected that with further recombination and hybridization, it will be possible to select hybrids improved for critical commercial characteristics, and to derive selections suitable to locations ranging from the far north to the far south.