Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2001
Publication Date: 4/1/2002
Citation: Spiers, J.M., Stringer, S.J., Draper, A.D., Gupton, C.L. 2002. 'Biloxi' southern highbush blueberry. Acta Horticulturae. 574:153-155.
Interpretive Summary: Among other factors, the expansion of the blueberry industry in mid-South and Southeast is dependent upon development of vigorous and adapted southern highbush blueberry cultivars that bear high quality fruit that ripen earlier than that obtained from rabbiteye blueberry cultivars. Southern highbush blueberries not only allow growers to exploit early-fruit markets, but also bring higher prices due to better fruit quality than rabbiteye blueberries. Biloxi tetraploid blueberry is a new southern highbush blueberry cultivar developed and released by the blueberry breeding program at the USDA Small Fruit Research Station in Poplarville, MS in 1998 for production in the coastal plains of the Southeastern United States. Plants of Biloxi are vigorous, upright and productive. The fruit of Biloxi ripens early and has medium size, good color, small stem scar, and good flavor. Biloxi blooms early, about the same time as Climax rabbiteye blueberry, but fruit ripening preceded that of the earliest ripening rabbiteye cultivars by about 14 days. Biloxi is recommended for areas where low-chilling blueberries are grown successfully and has been tested in southern Arkansas, southern Mississippi, southern Georgia, and central Florida where it has exhibited a vigorous growth habit and productivity. Thus, Biloxi provides Southern blueberry growers with a new cultivar to aid in exploiting and expanding early-fruit markets.
Technical Abstract: Biloxi tetraploid southern highbush blueberry is a new cultivar developed and released by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture breeding programs in Beltsville, MS, and Poplarville MS. Plants of 'Biloxi' are upright, vigorous and productive. The fruit ripens early, has medium size, with good color, firmness, stem scar, and flavor. Although Biloxi is predominantly a tetraploid southern highbush in parentage, adaptation to the southern US environment was obtained from two diploid and one hexaploid Vaccinium species. This relatively low-chill cultivar was released in 1998 for production in the coastal plains of the Southeastern United States, and should be planted with other southern highbush cultivars to facilitate pollination. Biloxi blooms early, about the same time as Climax rabbiteye blueberry, but fruit ripening precedes the earliest ripening rabbiteye cultivars by about 14 to 21 days. Thus, while providing Southern blueberry growers with a cultivar to aid in exploiting early-fruit markets, Biloxi, may require protection from spring frosts.