BERRY Breeding Has Made Available Some Valuable New Varieties

Up to the present time 7 new varieties of strawberry, 2 of raspberry, 1 of of blackberry, and 1 of gooseberry have been introduced as a result of the breeding work of the United States Department of Agriculture.

The Blakemore strawberry, introduced 5 years ago, is a superior general-market variety for the South which is especially desirable for use by preservers. About 10,000 acres of this variety fruited in 1934.  The Southland is a high-quality home-garden variety for the South, the Redheart a canning and freezing variety for Oregon and Washington, the Bellmar a handsome general-market sort for Maryland and New Jersey, and the Dorsett, Fairfax, and Narcissa very high-quality market and home-garden sorts, Dorsett and Fairfax for the region from Maryland to southern New England and west to Kansas and Nebraska, and Narcissa for Oregon and Washington (fig. 8).

Strawberry breeding is being continued to develop high-flavored, firm, commercial varieties for the South, late commercial varieties for the North, canning and preserving varieties for the Northwest,root-rot-resistant varieties, etc. Over 1,000 selections from hundreds of thousands of seedlings are being tested for their value for such purposes.

FIGURE 8.—Three of the new strawberries originated in the breeding work of the United States Department of Agriculture:  A, Fairfax, a sweet, highly flavored table berry; B, Dorsett, a slightly more tart, highly flavored table berry; C, Blakemore, a tart, general market and preserving variety.

The Potomac purple raspberry has been introduced as a hardy canning and preserving variety relatively resistant to leaf spot and anthracnose (fig. 9). The Van Fleet, a hybrid between an Asiatic wild raspberry and the Cuthbert red raspberry, has been introduced for southern regions as a home-garden sort. Other Asiatic wild raspberries are being hybridized with red, black, and purple sorts in an attempt to get kinds adapted to the Southern States. One of these recently hybridized sorts is a trailing red raspberry which succeeds several hundred miles south of the present commercial raspberry regions and which is resistant to the common serious diseases.

FIGURE 9.—A, Cluster of the Potomac purple raspberry, a hardy preserving and canning sort; B, a quart of the Potomac.

The Brainerd blackberry is a hybrid of the Himalaya, a European blackberry, and an American erect blackberry, and is a productive variety of high quality which is adapted to regions from North Carolina to Maryland and west to the Pacific coast. It ripens about a month after American blackberries. Other blackberry selections similar to the Brainerd are being tested.  Breeding work is also under way with selections of the native wild blackberry of the Pacific coast from which the Logan is derived.

G. M. DARROW and G. F. WALDO, Bureau of Plant Industry.