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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Werner, Dennis
item Okie, William

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/21/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Many peach varieties are grown in the world. Most commercial peaches in the U.S. come from a relatively narrow background tracing back to 'Chinese Cling' variety, imported from China over 100 years ago. The many varieties grown in other countries, particularly the local varieties, represent a valuable resource for peach breeders. In the last 90 years USDA imported over 2100 peach varieties as "Plant Introductions." This paper describes the characteristics of 72 such peach varieties which are still available today. It summarizes recent research on these peaches by various scientists, and includes personal observations by the authors.

Technical Abstract: Peach is the second most widely planted tree fruit in the world, after apple. In contrast to apple, where a few major cultivars comprise a majority of commercial production, hundreds of peach cultivars are grown commercially worldwide. Most of these cultivars are closely related genetically, their origin tracing to 'J.H. Hale' or 'Elberta', and ultimately to 'Chinese Cling'. Many peach breeding programs in the United States were largely based on 'Chinese Cling' germplasm since their inception. Remarkable advances have been made using this source of germplasm, and breeders can be proud of the size and quality found in current peach varieties. However, breeders world-wide realize that new sources of germplasm will need to be used in breeding efforts to meet the future needs of the peach industry and consumers, and to develop new and novel varieties that represent significant improvement over current varieties. One source of germplasm that has received attention by breeders in the United States is the peach plant introduction (PI) collection.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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