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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1147: IX International Symposium on Artichoke, Cardoon and Their Wild Relatives

'Romolo' and 'Istar', first artichoke seed propagated hybrids enrolled into Italian national variety register

Authors:   F. Saccardo, J.R. Jordan, G. Mancuso, P. Crinò, M.A. Pagnotta
Keywords:   gamic propagation, seeded artichoke, nursery
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1147.53
Artichoke [Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus (L.) Fiori], one of the most important Italian vegetables, presents the typical problems of a multi-year crop with lack of contemporary production, heterogeneity of the genetic material and often uncertain phytosanitary conditions. The almost exclusive cultivation of traditional local landraces along with the agamic propagation are obstacles to the development of the artichoke nursery and to the rational agronomic management of the crop. Seeded artichoke implies a substantial quality and quantity improvements since it (i) reduces the bedding costs due to the lower initial ones of the young plants, (ii) enhances the phytosanitary conditions of cultivation, reducing the uprising of diseases that usually cannot be seed transmitted, (iii) reduces the use of fertilizers and the need of watering, thanks to the development of a deep root system by the plant, (iv) shows a full productive capability from the first year. Within a close and long collaboration among Tuscia University, ENEA, and BHSC, research aimed at creating seed propagated materials that allows to develop artichoke hybrids lines capable of modernizing the artichoke crop. The seed propagated hybrids 'Romolo' and 'Istar', both without spines, were recently released. 'Romolo' is a hybrid of Romanesco type, medium late growing, high productive and uniform with green-violet and round-shaped heads characterized by tender heart and sweet taste. It is sown in late spring and is harvested at the end of winter/early spring of the following year. 'Istar', re-flowering hybrid selected from the 'Imperial Star' American cultivar, has a very early growth; if seeded in late spring, it starts its fructification in November continuing until the following spring. This is a high productive genotype with brilliant green heads that, if harvested during winter, shows a slightly violet shading off on the calyx. The hybrids, 'Romolo' and 'Istar', both suitable for fresh consumption, are already commercialized by Top Seed s.r.l. in Italy where, in the same time, the nursery technique of artichoke is developed, so far lacking in the country for producing healthy and low cost seedlings.

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