|Authors: ||M. Rovira, J.J. Ferreira, J. Tous, M. Ciordia|
|Keywords: ||Asturias, Corylus avellana, genetic diversity, hazelnut, Spain|
The Asturias region, situated in the north of Spain, is known for its wild hazelnuts growing spontaneously or planted on land boundaries and on river banks.
In the last century hazelnut production in this area was very important and in the sixties some works were carried out by S. Alvarez Requejo, inVillaviciosa (Asturias), especially on the study of commercial varieties.
Recently, hazelnut research has been reinitiated in order to preserve the genetic diversity of the species and to promote interest in its cultivation.
In August 2003 renewed prospection of native hazelnuts started in collaboration with IRTA-Mas Bové (NE Spain), firstly with the aim, to recover the maximum genetic diversity of the hazelnut from the extinction process, and secondly to find some outstanding individual plants in terms of their agronomic and commercial characters.
In this survey a total of 44 trees were studied and a high genetic variability was observed.
The specimens were situated at 180-600 m above sea level and, generally, close to rivers.
Two kinds of hazelnuts could be clearly distinguished: long oval shaped nuts with thick shells (“bravos” or “monteses” hazelnuts) and commercially more interesting round nuts with thin shells.
Tree (vigour, growth habit) and nut characters (shell attractiveness, size, shape, amount of fibre on the pellicle and blanching) were studied.
Data of time anthesis, caking abundance, sensibility to Phytoptus avellanae and bud shapes were also recorded.
Ten individual trees (‘Aciera-1’, ‘San Pedro-4’, ‘Rubiano-3’, ‘Pola de Allande-3’, ‘Riocastiello-2’, ‘Yerbo-2’, ‘Los Cuetos-1’, ‘Las Cuevas-1’, ‘Las Cuevas-2’ and ‘Tanda-1’) were outstanding.
In January 2004 this material was propagated to be introduced to two collections (IRTA and SERIDA) for its preservation and characterization.
Hazelnut prospection in Asturias will be continued in the coming years.
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