Strawberry Cultivars for Annual
Craig K. Chandler and Daniel E. Legard
There are a number of
breeding programs around the world that are developing cultivars specifically
for annual production systems. All
of these programs have a similar breeding goal: to develop cultivars that
produce profitable quantities of high quality fruit.
Ideally these cultivars would produce fruit that are large (> 10 g,
with an average fruit weight > 20 g), easy to harvest, consistently
attractive (i.e. have a bright, pleasing color, smooth and glossy surface,
symmetrical shape, and are free of splits and cracks), and have a firm, yet
desirable, texture, and a delightful flavor.
The programs may differ somewhat, however, in their objectives
concerning timing of production and disease and pest resistance.
Below is a brief description of the major breeding programs that are
developing cultivars for annual systems.
Selected cultivars from these programs are also briefly described --
realizing that cultivars for annual systems tend to be short lived, compared
to cultivars for perennial systems. All
cultivars listed are short-day flowering types, unless otherwise noted.
of California (UC).
The UC program is actively developing cultivars for the commercial
strawberry industry in California. Cultivars from this program have typically performed well in
areas like coastal California where winters are relatively mild.
This includes the coastal plains of the southeastern U.S., Mexico,
southern Spain, Italy, and France, north Africa, and subtropical areas in
South America and Australia. Cultivars developed for southern California (mild winter,
warm summer) have the potential to produce high fruit yields during late
winter, spring, and early summer, while cultivars developed for the central
coast of California (cool winter, mild summer) have the potential to produce
high fruit yields during the spring, summer, and fall.
All advanced selections in the UC program are currently being tested
for tolerance to twospotted spider mites (Tetranychus urtricae), and
resistance to crown and root rotting diseases caused by Verticillium
albo-atrum and Colletotrichum acutatum.
(introduced in 1993). Originally
billed as a replacement for Chandler in southern California, Camarosa has
performed well throughout the state, and in other areas of the world where
Chandler has been grown commercially. Camarosa
can be quite vigorous, and has high total season yield potential.
Its fruit is typically very large and firm, deep red, and flavorful
when fully mature. It is
susceptible to anthracnose fruit rot (caused by Colletotrichum acutatum)
and powdery mildew (caused by Sphaerotheca macularis).
(introduced in 1997) is a day-neutral cultivar. It has replaced Selva as the predominant cultivar in the
Watsonville/Salinas growing area of California. It is superior to Selva in fresh fruit flavor, fruit size,
tolerance to spider mites, and resistance to powdery mildew.
And its plant form tends to be more compact and erect than that of
Selva. The internal color of Diamante fruit is lighter than that of other
(introduced in 1997) is a day-neutral cultivar that is particularly adapted to
the conditions found near the central coast of California.
It typically produces high yields of firm, deep red fruit, and has a
more erect plant habit, and greater resistance to powdery mildew, than Selva.
(introduced in 1997) is considered an alternative to summer-planted Pajaro and
fall-planted Camarosa and Chandler. (It
is not, however, adapted to the early fall digging/planting system used in
Southern California.). Gaviota
has a smaller and more open plant habit than Camarosa and Chandler, and its
fruit is more rain tolerant and has better eating quality than Camarosa.
(introduced in 1983). Once the
predominant cultivar in southern California, Chandler has now been largely
replaced in this region by Camarosa. It
is still important in the southeastern U.S., however, because of its ability
to produce high yields of attractive, exceptionally flavored fruit for local
and pick-your-own sales.
(1983), Seascape (1991),
Pajaro (1979), Oso Grande (1987), and Parker (1983) are some
UC cultivars that are being grown to a small extent in California or other
annual production areas.
For up-to-date information on the UC strawberry breeding program and new cultivars from this program, see www.ucop.edu/ott/strawberry.
University of Florida (UF). The UF program is actively developing cultivars for the commercial strawberry industry in west central Florida. Cultivars from this program appear to be best adapted to subtropical winter production areas of the world, such as northern Argentina and Egypt. The UF program emphasizes the development of cultivars with high fruit yields during the early season (November - February in the northern hemisphere or May - August in the southern hemisphere). Resistance to certain fungal diseases is also a priority. Seedlings are passively screened for resistance to Colletotrichum crown rot (caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), and advanced selections are currently evaluated for resistance to anthracnose fruit rot and susceptibility to Botrytis fruit rot (caused by Botrytis cinerea).
(introduced in 1992) has generally produced higher December and February
fruit yields than other cultivars grown in west central Florida.
It is resistant to anthracnose fruit rot.
And its fruit is often sweet and flavorful, due to a consistently low
acid content. Despite these positive attributes, use of this cultivar in west
central Florida is currently on the decline because of the short shelf
life of its fruit during warm weather, compared to some newer cultivars.
Sweet Charlie, however, can still be useful in areas where earliness
and flavor are valued and fruit will be consumed locally.
(introduced in 2000) has the ability, like Sweet Charlie, to produce
relatively high early season yields in west central Florida.
Its fruit is typically firmer and larger, although at times more misshapen, than fruit of Sweet Charlie.
Festival (introduced in 2000) produces firm, deep red fruit with excellent
flavor when grown in west central Florida.
The fruit is usually born on long pedicels, and is easy to harvest.
Strawberry Festival is susceptible to anthracnose fruit rot and
Colletotrichum crown rot, so growers are advised to choose their transplant
source carefully to avoid starting with infected plants.
Carolina State University (NC State).
NC State has an active program to develop strawberry
cultivars for the Carolinas and surrounding states.
This program is evaluating selections in annual hill and greenhouse
culture. Annual hill culture is
used for spring fruit production, while greenhouse culture is used to supply
specialty fruit during off-season periods.
Anthracnose fruit rot and Colletotrichum crown rot are of particular
concern on the hot, humid coastal plain and Piedmont sections of the
southeastern U.S, so the development of cultivars resistant to these diseases
is a major objective of this program.
of Maryland (UM).
The UM program, named “Five Aces Breeding”, is
currently a public/private partnership with Davon Crest Farms on Maryland’s
Eastern Shore. Davon Crest Farms
is a nursery that produces certified virus-free strawberry plug plants.
The goal of this program is to become a totally private enterprise that
specializes in developing and marketing annual hill strawberry cultivars for
eastern U.S. conditions. Selections
from this program are currently evaluated at test sites from south Florida to
near Lake Erie in New York. A
particularly exciting objective of the program is the transfer of F.
moschata flavor into cultivated strawberry.
This work is being done in cooperation with Dr. Alan
Sullivan of the University of Guelph.
This program includes three regional breeding programs: one for south
Italy (Sicily, Campania, and Basilicata regions); one for the Po Valley; and
one for the northern mountain area (Piemonte and Trentino regions).
Cultivars developed for south Italy produce fruit during the winter and
early spring; those developed for the Po Valley produce fruit in the spring;
and those for the northern mountain regions produce fruit during the summer.
Strawberries in south Italy are grown in walk-in tunnels to enhance
winter production, whereas strawberries in the Po Valley and in the northern
mountain area are grown in walk-in tunnels or the open field.
Breeding objectives include adaptation to alkaline soils (pH 7.5-8.2)
and resistance to the following diseases: Phytophthora root rot (caused by Phytophthora
cactorum), Verticillium root rot, powdery mildew, Botrytis fruit rot, and
anthracnose fruit rot.
(introduced in 1982) is well adapted to conditions in the Po Valley, and in
this production area is an early to mid season cultivar.
(introduced in 1991), like Addie, is adapted to the Po Valley production area.
It is considered a late season cultivar.
Plants of Idea are vigorous and have performed well on non-fumigated
soils. Its fruit are typically orange-red, large, and moderately
(Interregional Center for Strawberry Research and Experimentation).
The breeding program
located at this center, which is near Bergerac, France, has as its goal to
develop short-day and day-neutral cultivars that have the fruit appearance and
flavor characteristics of Gariguette, but are less susceptible to Phytophthora
cactorum and Colletotrichum acutatum than is Gariguette.
CIREF has introduced a number of short-day (Ciflorette, Ciloe,
Cigaline, Cireine,Cigoulette, Cifrance) and day-neutral (Cijosée,
Cirafine, Cirano, Cilady) cultivars since its breeding program began in
public program. This
program, which began in 1985, is a cooperative effort by scientists from three
organizations: Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA), Centro
de Investigatción y Formación Agraria (CIFA), and Universidad de
Huelva. The main goal of the
program is to develop fresh market cultivars for the Huelva and Valencia
growing areas. High early season
(January - March) production is an important breeding objective in the Huelva
Volcani Center program in Israel. This
program has developed numerous cultivars that produce high early season
(November - January) fruit yield in the warmer Mediterranean areas.
Plants of these cultivars have the ability to start producing ripe
fruit in November (May in the southern hemisphere) even if they have not been
grown in a high elevation or high latitude nursery (where they would typically
be exposed to low temperature conditioning before digging).
The program introduced Malah, Yael, and Tamar in
the late 1990's.
There are two distinct public strawberry breeding programs in
Australia: one is part of the Victoria Department of Agriculture and is
located near Melbourne; the other
is part of the Queensland Horticulture Institute (QHI) and is located near
Brisbane. Strawberries in
Victoria are grown in a Mediterranean-type climate (wet winters, dry summers),
and the objectives of the Victorian program are similar to the programs based
in the central coast of California (Watsonville/Salinas area).
Cultivars that have the potential to produce high fruit yields during
the spring, summer, and fall are desirable.
The main production area in Queensland has a subtropical climate (mild
winters, hot, wet summers). The Queensland program has developed cultivars with the
potential for high late fall and winter production.
Also, because of rainy conditions during recent winters, the program
has been able to select some genotypes that are quite resistant to cracking
(introduced in 1995) from QHI lends itself to very early planting dates (mid
March in the southern hemisphere; mid September in the northern hemisphere).
Consequently, it is able to produces very high early season yields.
Fruit of Kabarla have medium to high soluble solids and acidity levels,
and are typically medium sized, firm, and rain resistant.
Joy (introduced in 1992) from QHI is
very productive during the mid-season period (July - August in the southern
hemisphere; January - February in the northern hemisphere).
The fruit of Redlands Joy is consistently well liked by consumers
(probably because of its sweet flavor, which results from low acidity), but
special care is required when harvesting and packing this fruit because it
Prefectural Agricultural Experiment Station Program in Japan.
This program is developing cultivars for protected (plastic
tunnel) culture (which is used for fall, winter, and spring production).
(introduced in 1984) has been a very
popular cultivar in Japan. Its fruit is attractive and sweet.
(introduced in 1992) is resistant to powdery mildew, and produces long conic
fruit with a deep scarlet color and an excellent flavor.
(introduced in 1995) is high
yielding, and produces fruit that is larger, firmer, and sweeter, than that of
in Argentina and Uruguay.
INTA (National Institute of Agricultural Technology) in
Argentina, and INIA (National Agriculture Research Institute) in Uruguay both
have initiated breeding programs to develop cultivars adapted to subtropical
fall, winter, and spring conditions. The breeding work in Argentina is being conducted at
INTA’s research facility near Tucuman, while INIA’s program is based at
the research center at Las Brujas. The
objectives of these programs are similar to those of the University of Florida
program (described above).
Research International (HRI), East Malling.
This program has developed a series of cultivars for the UK
that crop in succession over a five month period (late May to mid October in
southern England) or a seven month period if plastic tunnels are used to
extend the season on both ends.
(introduced in 1990) is a mid season cultivar that has been consistently
productive and is resistant to Verticillium wilt.
(introduced in 1994) is a mid season cultivar similar to Elsanta, but it has
slightly larger fruit, on average, than Elsanta. Eros is resistant to several races of red stele root rot
(caused by Phytophthora fragariae).
(introduced in 1995) is a strong day-neutral cultivar.
Plants are compact, yet productive.
The fruiting period of Tango bridges the gap between late short-day
cultivars and late day-neutral cultivars, such as Selva.
(introduced in 1996) is a day-neutral cultivar that is later cropping than
Tango. It combines excellent
fruit quality with resistance to powdery mildew.
for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research (CPRO-DLO), Wageningen, The
This program has
developed strawberry cultivars that are adapted to one or more of the
production areas in the European temperate zone, which is roughly between 45
and 60° north latitude.
Selections are evaluated under both field and greenhouse conditions.
(introduced in 1960) produces large fruit and can be grown successfully from
northern Italy to Denmark.
(introduced in 1981) is the major cultivar throughout much of western Europe.
The firm flesh and strong skin of Elsanta fruit gives this cultivar
greater harvest efficiency than other cultivars adapted to this region.
Strawberry Associates, Inc (DSA).
This company, whose headquarters is in Watsonville,
California, develops proprietary cultivars for its growers in California,
Florida, and other annual production areas around the world.
Cultivars recently patented by DSA include Alisal, Alta Vista,
Baeza, Montalvo, Mirador, and Captiva.
Sciences, Inc. (PSI).
Like Driscoll, PSI also has its headquarters in Watsonville,
California. PSI is a research and
development company that has developed numerous proprietary cultivars.
These cultivars are only available to licensed growers.
More information on PSI can be obtained at their web site
Giant, Inc. is a Watsonville
based grower-shipper. This
company has a breeding program that evaluates selections on non-fumigated
soils. Currently they have two
cultivars, Cal Giant #2 and Cal Giant #3, that are being
offered for sale through California Pacific Plant Exports, Inc. of Chico
California (www.strawberry-plants.com). Both
of these cultivars reportedly perform as well on non-fumigated soil as they do
on fumigated soil.
has had an active breeding program in Watsonville, California until
recently. Two day-neutral cultivars developed by VPP, Colima and
Whitney, are grown commercially in the Watsonville/Salinas area.
& P Research, Inc. of
Star (introduced in 2000) is
resistant to anthracnose, and has performed well in North Carolina.
(introduced in 2000) is well adapted
to the west central Florida production area.
This cultivar is resistant to anthracnose, and its fruit has a deep red
exterior color and is very resistant to abrasion.
nursery of Milly-la-Forêt
France has developed and introduced a number of cultivars for open-field and
protected culture production systems.
(introduced in 1995) is a mid season
cultivar in the French production areas.
It produces fruit that is bright red, glossy, flavorful, and has
relatively low susceptibility to Botrytis fruit rot.
nursery of Navarra, Spain develops cultivars primarily for the Huelva
production area in southwestern Spain.
(introduced prior to 1996) is an early yielding cultivar with long, conical
fruit. It is being grown
commercially in southwestern Spain and southern Italy.
(introduced in 1997) is an early
yielding cultivar. It is only
moderately vigorous, and therefore requires a relatively close within row
spacing. Its fruit is very firm,
but should not be allowed to stay on the plant too long because of a tendency
to become dark.
For more information on
Planasa’s cultivars, see www.planasa.com
(Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti),
whose headquarters is in Ferrara, Italy, has developed cultivars for the major
production areas in both north and south Italy.
(introduced prior to 1993) is flexible in terms of its ability to produce high
quality fruit in various annual systems.
It is well adapted to the production areas of northern Italy, and also
can be grown successfully in other temperate areas of Europe.
(introduced prior to 1997) produces very attractive, high quality fruit in the
southern Italy production areas.
(introduced prior to 1997) is early
ripening in southern Italy. It produces fruit that are light red, attractive, and very
of Faversham, Kent England is
a fruit growing company that began a breeding program in 1986 to breed
everbearing cultivars for northern European conditions.
The first cultivar released from the program was Evita, which has
recently been followed by Everest and Everglade.