University of Florida announces 14 new cultivars

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Fourteen new cultivars, including eight coleus varieties and six citrus, have been approved for release by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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 time 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.

As for the new coleus varieties, which are used as decorative bedding plants for landscaping, in mixed containers and as indoor potted plants in homes and gardens in North America and throughout the world, they are described as versatile, consumer-friendly plants because they are easy to grow in sun and shade and require less maintenance than many other garden plants, said David Clark, professor in floriculture and biotechnology, who developed the new cultivars.

Coleus plants are known for having bright colored leaves. Examples of the a few new cultivars are golden yellow leaves striped with lime green, bright green around the edge leaves filled with a layer of maroon and magenta-striped center and magenta pink veins surrounded by chocolate-brown with lime green leaf margins.

Plant patent applications will be filed on the 14 cultivars approved for release, and the varieties will be licensed by Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (http://ffsp.net/). FFSP will seek licensees for these released cultivars in 2014.


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