Location: Southern Horticultural ResearchTitle: 'Pearl' Southern Highbush Blueberry Author
Submitted to: International Journal of Fruit Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2010
Publication Date: 3/14/2012
Citation: Stringer, S.J., Draper, A., Spiers, J.M. 2012. 'Pearl' Southern Highbush Blueberry. International Journal of Fruit Science. 12:1-3,246-248. Interpretive Summary: Due to incresed competition and acreage planted to blueberries, rabbiteye blueberry producers in the Gulf-coast region now have fewer opportunities to participate in the lucrative early U.S. fresh blueberry market. As an alternative to rabbiteye blueberries, growers wishing to participate in the fresh market require blueberry cultivars that ripen earlier. The new cultivar, 'Pearl' southern highbush blueberry, provides growers with an adapted, vigorously growing blueberry bush that is productive, has excellent fruit quality, and ripens approximately three weeks earlier than the earliest rabbitye blueberry cultivars.
Technical Abstract: ‘Pearl’ is a new southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium spp. hybrid) developed and released by the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. The new cultivar has several advantages for growers in the Southeastern U.S. over rabbiteye blueberry cultivars, the most widely grown blueberry in the region. Among these are earlier ripening period than the earliest rabbiteye blueberry cultivars, good yield potential, and excellent fruit quality. These attributes enable producers to participate in the lucrative early U.S. fresh market where opportunities for marketing rabbiteye blueberries have diminished due to expanding acreage in the region and other states.