Bud dormancy during winter is a critical factor in peach production in Hungary. The yield is determined basically by the survival rate of flower buds during winter frosts and by their ability to develop normal floral organs. It is important to investigate the genetic basis of slow floral development during dormancy for the purpose of breeding p...each varieties with better winter hardiness. The aim of the present research was to examine microsporogenesis in 14 peach varieties during three successive winters in a Hungarian germplasm collection and to study the effectiveness of this method in variety evaluation. There were significant differences in the dynamics of microsporogenesis both between the varieties and between the years. Of the varieties, ‘Mayfire', bred in California, possessed the quickest pollen development rate. The microsporogenesis of `Piroska', a Hungarian local variety, was the slowest. Rapid floral bud development was observed in `Aranycsillag', `Springcrest' and 'Venus'. A medium developmental rate was characteristic of `Babygold 6', Fairlane', `Michelini' and `Red June', while development was slow in 'Champion', 'Early Redhaven', `Redhaven', `Harko' and `Mariska'. Based on these results, the study of microsporogenesis represents a reliable method for the phenological description of peach varieties during dormancy. The application of this method makes it possible to identify varieties and landraces with slow flower bud development, suggesting better winter hardiness.
The phenological processes of flower bud development of stone fruits during dormancy are not thoroughly known. The yield of these species, especially of almond, apricot and peach is determined basically by dormancy of flower buds, the survival rate of buds during winter frosts and by their ability to develop normal floral organs in the next spr...ing. After the initiation of floral primordia, flower bud development is taking place in continuous space until blooming, though at different speed characteristic to the species. To study flower bud development during dormancy we applied two alternative methods in different genotypes of almond, apricot and peach: (1) examination of pollen development (microsporogenesis), and (2) the measurement of pistil length. The samples were collected from the central part of Hungary during the dormancy period of 2004/2005. The three fruit species differed significantly in the speed of flower bud development, it was the quickest in almond, followed by apricot and peach. In addition to the species, there were significant differences in the process of microsporogenesis and pistil development between genotypes within species and also between the different types of shoots on which the buds were located. On short shoots buds developed at a higher speed, than on long shoots. Based on our observations, on the short shoots the period of endodormancy was shorter with 5-30 days, according to genotypes, compared to the long shoots. This difference, however, decreased to 2-3 days by the time of blooming.