|Authors: ||E. Żurawicz, S. Pluta, D. Kucharska|
|Keywords: ||Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt., saskatoon berry, small fruit species, breeding, selection|
Poland has a long tradition in the production of different berry crops.
To improve profitability and competitiveness of small fruit production, Polish growers are interested in the cultivation of new crops, such as saskatoon berry (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.). According to the literature, the fruit is highly valued for its nutraceutical properties, like those of blueberry, and there has been an increasing interest in using it in the food industry (production of drinks, jams, jellies and fruit pies). To meet the demands of fruit growers and processors, the Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture (now Research Institute of Horticulture) in Skierniewice initiated several years ago research work on Amelanchier species in Poland.
This work has concentrated mainly on studying the adaptation of a few Canadian cultivars to the local environment and different vegetative propagation methods (including propagation in vitro). A breeding program with A. alnifolia was also started in 2009, aimed at developing new cultivars better adapted to the Polish climatic conditions and producing high quality fruit.
In the trials, we have been testing 6 Canadian cultivars and 11 advanced selections from our breeding program.
The first results from these trials show that saskatoon berry can be grown successfully in Poland and its cultivation seems to be much easier than the cultivation of high-bush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.).
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