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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1133: XI International Rubus and Ribes Symposium

The history of blackberry and raspberry breeding in the southern USA

Author:   J.R. Ballington
Keywords:   Rubus spp., interspecific hybridization, polyploidy, cultivar improvement, climatic adaptation, floricane-fruiting, primocane-fruiting
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1133.3
Abstract:
Blackberry breeding was initiated just after the turn of the twentieth century in the southern USA and involved state agricultural experiment stations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. The Virginia program was part of the Five Aces program headquartered in Maryland. The USDA was also involved through collaboration with the North Carolina program from the 1930s through early 1960s, and also the USDA laboratory at Poplarville, MS. Mr. B.M. Young from Louisiana also made a significant contribution in the 1920s. These eight programs released a total of 42 cultivars, of which 32 are still extant. The most significant of these cultivars in terms of industry impact and parental value are 'Brazos' from Texas and numerous 'Brazos' backcrosses, especially erect thorny and thornless cultivars from the Arkansas program. Raspberry breeding in the southern USA was initiated in the late 1920s and early 1930s and involved state agricultural experiment stations in Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Virginia included both Virginia Tech and collaboration with the Five Aces program. The USDA was also involved through collaboration with the North Carolina program from the 1930s through the early 1960s. These five raspberry breeding programs released a total of 20 cultivars including 12 involving interspecific hybridization with heat tolerant Asian raspberry species, seven cultivars derived from R. idaeus intercrosses primarily evaluated for adaptation to the southern Appalachians and one black raspberry cultivar. Fifteen of these raspberry cultivars are still available. The most significant of the heat tolerant raspberry cultivars involving Asian germplasm are 'Southland' from the USDA/North Carolina program and 'Dormanred' from the Mississippi program. The most significant R. idaeus cultivars from these programs that are adapted to the southern Appalachians are 'Cherokee' from Virginia Tech and 'Anne', 'Caroline' and 'Josephine' from the Five Aces program. Currently, only the University of Arkansas, North Carolina State University and USDA, Poplarville, MS, blackberry breeding programs are active, while only the North Carolina State University raspberry breeding program remains.

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