Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2012
Publication Date: 1/1/2013
Citation: Rinehart, T.A., Edwards Jr, N.C., Spiers, J. 2013. Vernicia fordii 'Anna Bella', a new ornamental tung tree. HortScience. 48:123-125.
Interpretive Summary: ‘Anna Bella’ is the first ornamental tung tree selection released by the USDA-ARS Southern Horticultural Research Unit. ‘Anna Bella’ is a semi-sterile, or nutless, tung tree selection that significantly reduces concerns about mowing and yard maintenance, toxicity to pets and children, and the possibility of invasiveness.
Technical Abstract: ‘Anna Bella’ was collected in the 1950s from unknown sources because of its late flowering. In four years of observations, peak flowering for ‘Anna Bella’ occurs 4 weeks later when compared to widely grown tung tree cultivars such as ‘Folsom’ and ‘Isabel’. In this respect, it was an ideal candidate to be used in the tung breeding program for delayed flowering. It has typical growth habit, flower numbers, and environmental tolerances. Unfortunately, it was not used in the tung improvement breeding program because it lacked fertility and did not appear to produce seed. Many years later, germplasm from the tung germplasm collection was screened for ornamental use and ‘Anna Bella’ was selected for evaluation because it does not produce tung nuts. It was propagated by bud grafting in 2005 for evaluation by university and nursery cooperators in Georgia, Texas, Washington D.C., Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi. ‘Anna Bella’ was released in 2012 by T. Rinehart after evaluation for ornamental qualities and sterility.