Comparative analysis of sour cherry cultivars on their ecological and biological indicators

Sour cherries developed in the northern hemisphere, an alloploid hybrid of dwarf sour cherries (Prunus fruticosa) and bird cherries (P. avium), born in the confluence of the two species. However, the ecological and, above all, cold tolerance of the ancestor of cultivated sour cherries is higher than that of wild cherries (De Candolle, 1894; Rehder, 1954; Terpó, 1974; Iezzoni et al., 1991; Faust & Surányi, 1997). The cultivation limits are in the northern hemisphere 38-44. degree. The Carpathian Basin, the Balkans and Asia Minor are considered to be the main birthplaces for sour cherries. The genetic and morphological diversity of sour cherries is greater than that of the basic species (Iezzoni et al. 1991; Faust & Surányi, 1997). In the study, 472 sour cherry cultivars were compared based on 7 relative ecological indicators and 3 biological values. Compared to other Prunus species, we mostly found less variability in sour cherries - not counting their salt tolerance (SB). The partial similarity between open pollination (OP), frost tolerance (FR) and disease resistance (DR) - partly true in terms of varieties, but also reflected the effects of purposeful breeding and selection. The cultivars together - in comparison, showed balance, but in the highlighting, the differences of the 3 cultivar groups became significant. Indeed, the differences between the species of the former Hungarian cultural flora are clearly different (Surányi, 2004), which is also the case when comparing a large number of apricot (Surányi, 2014), plum (Surányi, 2015) and peach (Surányi, 2020) varieties.

Comparative analysis of peach and nectarine cultivars based on their ecological and biological indicators

Natural conditions other than the ecological conditions of the Chinese gene center (as 34-38° latitude and 600 to 2400 m above sea level), mainly dry subtropical, i.e. Mediterranean effects, facilitated the development of new forms and varieties (Scorza & Okie, 1991; Faust & Timon, 1995). Probably the primary cause of nectarines, this could also be the primary cause of mutations (probably about 2000 years ago) (Roach, 1985; Surányi, 1985). During the long domestication of peaches, its natural occurrence increased, which was greatly enhanced by its ecological and mutational ability and the organoleptical values of its fruit (Hedrick, 1917; Roach, 1985; Scorza & Okie, 1991; Faust et al., 2011). Through the Ellenberg-Borhidi model and its refinement, the author has demonstrated the suitability of peaches in a broad climate zone based on the relative ecological and biological values of 700 varieties. Among the varieties, clone cultivars and hybrids were Hungarian selected and crossed form, because the diverse environmental conditions of the Carpathian Basin and the past and present size of cultivation were representative (Faust & Timon, 1995; Timon, 2000). It can be concluded from the present relative ecological data that the average standard deviation is below 12% for both peach and nectarine varieties, but the relative biological values were very different. Comparison of cultivars or classical (downy) peaches (n = 562) and nectarines (n = 138) in terms of environmental values confirmed the difference in heat demand and salt tolerance of the two groups of varieties. The pictures of the paper also demonstrated the rich diversity of this fruit species, and after analyzing the apricot and plum varieties (Surányi 2014, 2018), the peculiarities of the relative ecological and biological values of peaches were confirmed.

Growth and productivity of plum cultivars on various rootstocks in intensive orchard

Trees of three plum cultivars (Stanley, Cacanska Lepotica and Althann's Gage) were planted at Szigetcsép experimental station in Spring 1994 and trained to slender spindle with the aim to test their growth, effect of productivity under not irrigated conditions and to evaluate the adaptability of rootstock/scion combinations to intensive orchards. As control, trees on Myrobalan C 162/A (P. cerasifera) seedling are planted. In the trial two rootstocks are from Slovakia: Myrobalan MY-KL-A (red leaf) and Myrobalan MY-BO-1, vegetatively propageted. Further on two French rootstocks, the Marianna GF 8-1: Marianna plum (P. cerasifera x P munsoniana) and the Sainte Julien GF 655/2 (P. insititia) were involved. The Hungarian bred plum Fehér besztercei (P. domestica), which is recommended as apricot rootstock is also tested. Rootstocks MY-BO-1 and Fehér besztercei were planted with cultivar Stanley only. Trees were planted to a spacing of 5x3 m trained to slender spindle with 3-4 permanent basal branches. After yield start (1997) trees have been pruned only in summer, after harvest. In the alleyway the natural plant vegetation is mown, the orchard is not irrigated.

Based on tree size, vigorous rootstocks are Marianna GF 8-1 and Myrobalan C 162/A seedling, medium vigorous are MY-BO-I and MY­KL-A; vegetative propageted myrobalan plums from Slovakia, while St. Julien GF 655/2 and Feller Besztercei proved to be growth reducing rootstocks. No significant difference between the rootstocks was found in turning to bearing. Under non-irrigated condition at Szigetcsép, cultivar Stanley produced the highest yield per area unit on vigorous rootstock (GF 8-1). The cultivar Althann's Gage produced the highest yield efficiency on Marianna GF 8-1 and they were healthy in the last 10 years. The symptoms of Althann's Gage trees on MY-KL-A rootstock indicate a possible incompatibility. The average fruit weight was significantly influenced by crop load on cultivar Cacanska lepotica, while no statistically proved differences were found on Stanley and Althann's Gage. The Cacanska lepotica trees produced significantly lower yield and larger fruit weight on St. Julien GF 655/2 rootstock. Adaptability to spindle training system depends on vigour of scion/rootstock combination: low or medium vigour cultivars (C. lepotica, Stanley) are good choice for spindle training systems even on vigorous rootstock; while the St. Julien GF 655/2 can be recommended only for vigorous Althann's Gage under our soil and climate conditions.

Floral biology of tree fruit rootstocks

The modern nursery industry requires seed sources of a high quality and regular quantity year by year. Besides the seed sources of processed cultivars (Bartlett pear, Shipley, Elberta peach) special seed orchards are planted with selected seed trees producing high quality and genetically determined seed (hybrid seed or inbred lines). Seedlings are still the most common commercial source of rootstocks for stone fruits (almond, apricot, peach, plum, prune and walnut). Although clonal rootstocks are spreading, usage of seedlings is still predominant at stone fruits and nuts. For successful seed production and planning of seed orchard the knowledge on floral biology, flower fertility, pollination, blossom time of trees (selected clone or cultivars) used for seed production is essential. In this field very little systematic research was carried out most of the papers were published in the second half of the 20th century. Our mini review gives an overview on the importance of flower fertility in the mating systems applied in seed orchards, and the research results on floral biology of fruit tree rootstocks propagated by seed (Prunus avium, Prunus mahaleb, Prunus armeniaca, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus insititia, Prunus amygdalus, P persica, P amygdalopersica, Pyrus pyraster, Pyrus communis and Pyrus betulifolia) over the last decades.

Flower visiting activity of honeybees on fruit species blooming subsequently

In the small demonstration orchard of the College Faculty of Horticulture at Kecskemét the blooming time, the flower density and the honeybee activity was observed at a number of cultivars of 20 flower species during four consecutive years.

Fruit crop species were in flower during 3-4 months altogether. The blooming period of them was classified into five groups as early (almond, apricot, gooseberry), middle early (sweet cherry, red currant, currant-gooseberry, black currant, white currant, peach, plum, sour cherry), middle late (pear, strawberry, apple), late (black elder, quince, medlar, raspberry, blackberry-raspberry) and very late blooming period (blackberry). The blooming period of the members of the groups of early and medium early blooming often coincided partly and the same happened between the medium and the medium late as well as between fruits of late and very late flowering.

The flower density of some fruit species is extremely variable (currant-gooseberry, medlar), while at others it is fairly stable and evenly dense in consecutive years (sour cherry, sweet cherry, strawberry). At other fruit species it is moderately changeable. Some fruit species tended to attract more honeybees than others (plum, apple, quince, medlar) and some of them tended to attract much less (black elder, pear) but most species can be regarded as of medium attractivity.

On the flowers of some fruit species (pear, strawberry, quince) honeybees gathered pollen predominantly. At most fruit species however pollen and nectar gathering behaviour seemed to be gradually changing during the season. Namely most honeybees tended to gather pollen at the flowers of the early blooming fruit species, but on the other hand typical foraging behaviour gradually shifted to nectar gathering at the flowers of fruit species of moderate and late blooming periods.


Pollen morphology of fruit species

Size and surface morphology of pollen has been studied in 87 twit varieties of 10 fruit species during the period of 1990-1995. No preceding work of that type came to our knowledge, yet.

The samples comprised a wide variety of cultivars included male sterile, self-incompatible, partially self-fertile stone fruits, diploid and hexaploid plums, diploid and triploid apples.

The large number of species and varieties facilitated the comparison of items within and between the respective species.

It was stated that the size, shape and surface morphology of pollen is genetically determined and those data, combined with other variety characters, are suitable for the classification and distinction of varieties.

In assessment of pollen size and shape, their moisture content is crucial. The major diameter of the swollen pollen as well as the length and width of the dry grains are characteristic to species and/or to variety.

The width and shape changes largely with moisture content. Large grains are proper to quince, apricot, peach and almond, medium sizes are found in apple, sweet cherry, sour cherry, European plum, whereas small size is typical to Japanese plums.

The low number of varieties studied does not allow conclusions concerning differences within pears, quinces and almonds as species. In the rest of species, valid differences have been registered as between varieties.

Within species, as apple and plum, the effect of ploidy (i.e. number of chromosomes) was expressed in the size of their pollen. In stone fruit species, the correlation between size. of anthers and size of pollen grains was positive.

Genetic relations between the self-fertile sour cherry varieties of the Pándy type (Debreceni bőtermő, Kántorjánosi, Újfehértói fürtös) as well as the self-incompatible apricots of "giant" fruit size are supposed to be analysed by pollen studies but there did not turn out any decisive conclusion, yet. Other characters also should be considered.

The assembly of pollen characters is decisive in the determination of the variety. The ratio of empty pollen grains, the grain size and the density as well as the size of the pits on the surface are best suited to distinguish pollen lots.


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