|Authors: ||J.H. Craddock, G. Bassi|
|Keywords: ||Chinese chestnut, germplasm, international exchange of plant genetic resources|
Eight cultivars of the Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima Blume) were introduced into Italy for experimental trial in 1994 and 1995. They are: ‘Chushuhong,’ ‘Duanza,’ ‘Jiandingyouli’, ‘Jiaoza,’ ‘Jiujiazhong,’ ‘Qingza,’ ‘Red Leaf’ and ‘Weeping Shoot.’ The cultivars were introduced under plant quarantine provisions and shipped as dormant scionwood.
The scions were grafted onto seedling C. mollissima rootstocks under nursery field conditions in Cuneo Province, Northwest Italy.
All eight cultivars were selected and released by researchers at the Nanjing Botanical Garden in Nanjing, China, for their nut characteristics, high yields, pest resistance and dwarf habit.
Few generalizations can be made about their performance in Cuneo, based on only three years of observation.
In general, these C. mollissima grafted plants appear to have more difficulty surviving transplant than the C. sativa cultivars grown under the same nursery conditions.
They are not immune to chestnut blight caused by Cryphonectria parasitica. And several of them may not be adequately cold hardy in Northern Italy.
The plants begin branching close to the ground and apical dominance is only weakly expressed.
They all produce abundant longistaminate catkins and great quantities of pollen.
The nuts are smaller than nuts of the local C. sativa cultivar ‘Marrone di Chiusa Pesio.’ The pellicle is free (does not adhere to the cotyledon). The smooth yellow kernels have a dense texture.
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