[NAFEX] Balaton & Danube
Lon J. Rombough
lonrom at hevanet.com
Sat Feb 14 20:27:37 EST 2004
If I remember my reading correctly, sweet cherries, (Prunus avium) crossed
with Prunus fruiticosa to give the sour cherry, P. cerasus. This was a
hybrid that arose naturally and stablized in Nature. By that parentage,
it's entirely possible for there to be a lot of variation in the sweetness
of P. cerasus, according to when and where it arose. For that matter, it's
entirely possible, and may already have been done, to make the cross
artificially with selected forms of P. avium and P. fruiticosa and get
"sour" cherries that are both quite sweet AND cold hardy.
Incidently, Dr. Maxine Thompson at Oregon State University once did some
mutation breeding of sweet cherries, looking for self-fertile types, and got
a couple of selections that had the growth habit of sour cherries. To see
them in the planting you would have thought they were pie cherries in all
but the character of the fruit. They are long gone, though.
In discussions with the University of Saskatchewan tart cherry breeders,
they have said that tart cherries from Hungary have sweet cherry in their
background. If true, this could explain how the Balaton & Danube have the
high sugar of the tart cherry and the low acid of the sweet cherry. It also
may explain why they are not rated as hardy as the standard Montmorency.
Dr. Amy Iezzoni of Michigan State University, would have better idea of what
their parentage and history, of course.
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