Six new citrus cultivars have been given the green light for release by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). All of the citrus cultivars have sparked high industry interest, said Kevin Folta, associate professor and chairman of the UF/IFAS horticultural sciences department.
The committee approved the citrus cultivars under the UF/IFAS Citrus Fast Track release option, meaning they will be made available to growers and, thus, the market, 10 to 15 years faster than the 15 to 20 years typically required to breed and release such cultivars.
The following citrus cultivars will be released:
- C4-5-49 (hybrid lemon): A seedless, juicy lemon-like fruit shaped like a tangelo. Its best potential likely lies in niche markets or local production.
- C4-16-12 (sweet orange-like hybrid): A seedless, orange-like hybrid for juice processing. It is potentially tolerant to citrus greening, said Jude Grosser, UF professor in plant cell genetics.
- UFR-17 (rootstock): In experimental trials, trees grafted onto this ‘tetrazyg’ rootstock have shown a reduced frequency of infection from citrus greening and have shown reduced disease symptoms once infected as compared to commercial diploid rootstocks.
- C4-11-19 (pummelo): A delicious new red-fleshed fruit for the fresh citrus market. Fruit holds well on the tree, creating a long harvest window.
- N7-4 (pummelo): A very large, attractive fruit with pink flesh and somewhat thinner rind than most pummelos. It’s described as less bitter than grapefruit.
- UKP-1 (pummelo): A delicious red-fleshed sweet fruit for the fresh citrus market. Again, this fruit is less bitter and acidic than grapefruit.
Plant patent applications will be filed on the cultivars approved for release, and the varieties will be licensed by Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc. FFSP will seek licensees for these released cultivars in 2014.