|Authors: ||Brian L. Benson, Robert J. Mullen, Bill B. Dean|
In 1984 the initial crosses resulting in the cultivars Apollo, Atlas and Grande were made in a breeding program to improve the yield, quality and horticultural characteristics of new asparagus cultivars.
Parental selections were based on the horticultural, morphological and genetic background of the plants.
The female parents were selected from previously adapted cultivars in California with high yields and superior spear quality.
The common male parent to these cultivars was selected due to its genetic background (eastern U.S.A.) and its apparent adaptability to the central California asparagus production area.
Apollo, Atlas and Grande produce deep green spears with very tight heads with little anthocyanin pigmentation.
Yield data from California show a 25% to 50% yield increase over UC157.
Purple Passion was bred from two generations of single plant selections from Violet de Albinga from Italy.
This tetraploid cultivar produces large diameter, tight headed, purple colored spears.
Spear yields from Purple Passion are similar to UC 157 when planted at the same plant density.
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