Location: Southern Horticultural ResearchTitle: Notice to nurserymen of the naming and release for propagation of Spiers, a tung tree cultivar for tung oil production in the Gulf Coast Region
Submitted to: Germplasm Release
Publication Type: Germplasm Registration
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/25/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Although Germplasm release/ registration is a "first formal report", Interpretive Summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: The USDA-ARS Southern Horticultural Research Unit in Poplarville, MS has released Vernicia fordii ‘Spiers’, a new tung tree for tung oil production in the Gulf Coast region. This cultivar is recommended for trial by farmers for tung nut production in USDA cold hardiness zones 8 through 10, particularly in the Gulf Coast region known for historic tung oil production. ‘Spiers’ was selected for its exceptional fruit production and late flowering, which protects it from crop loss due to frost events in late spring. More than 20 years of evaluation in the 1950s and 1960s document that ‘Spiers’ has outstanding vigor, soil adaptability, environmental tolerance to heat, sun, and drought, and disease and insect resistance with no significant pathogens or pests. The growth habit and fruit production qualities of ‘Spiers’ are comparable or better than historic cultivars such as ‘Folsom’, ‘Isabel’, and ‘Ghal’. Current evaluations of flowering time, clonal propagation, and chemical characterization of oil content and composition support the release of ‘Spiers’ as an new cultivar for domestic tung oil production in the Gulf Coast region.