Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 7, 2009
Publication Date: January 23, 2010
Citation: Stringer, S.J., Draper, A., Marshall, D.A., Spiers, J.M. 2010. Prince Rabbiteye Blueberry. HortScience. 45(1):144-145. Interpretive Summary: In order to compete in the lucrative early U.S. fresh blueberry market, growers in the gulf-coast region of the U.S. require vigorous, productive and early ripening rabbiteye blueberry cultivars with good fruit quality. 'Prince', an new rabbiteye blueberry cultivar developed at the UADA-ARS Southern Horticulture Laboratory, was tested over several years in south Mississippi and was found to have outstanding vigor and yield potential, and fruit quality attributes suitable for the early fresh blueberry market. 'Prince' will provide gulf-coast region blueberry producers with the opportunity to enter the market earlier than with standard rabbiteye blueberry cultivars including 'Climax' and 'Brightwell'.
Technical Abstract: 'Prince' is a new early ripening rabbiteye blueberry released by the U.S. Depaertment of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Prince was selected from a cross of MS 598 and FL 80-11 in 1996, and tested in field plantings at McNeil and Stone County, MS beginning in 2000. Prince flowers and ripens earlier than 'Climax' which is currently the earliest industry standard cultivar. Vigor and productiveity of 'Prince' exceeded that of 'Climax' and 'Brightwell, and fruit quality attributes including berry size, color, firmness, picking scar, and flavor were comparable to that of 'Climax' and 'Brightwell'. Due to it's early flowering, 'Prince', should be grown under frost protection and should also be planted along with other early blooming rabbiteye cultivars to facilitate pollination and fruit set.