29 Oct 2020

THE NEW VARIETIES OF BLACKBERRIES ECLIPSE, GALAXY AND TWILIG...

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The best of US blackberry genetics has been fused to create Eclipse, Galaxy and Twilight, three new blackberry varieties released in the US by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

ARS's Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon, working in collaboration with the Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station, has blended the best characteristics of the upright reeded Orientals blackberries and creeping western blackberries into new varieties with semi-erect thornless canes to fill new niches in the fresh berry market.

ECLIPSE

Eclipse was the first of the three varieties of these crosses to move from the trial fields to final selection. Its name was changed from ORUS 2816-4 to Eclipse to commemorate the total solar eclipse visible in Corvallis in 2017.

One of Eclipse's parents, Triple Crown, known for top marks in productivity, vigour and flavour, matures in late summer. Eclipse has inherited the same triple-high score, but matures earlier, filling a gap in the cool-market harvest season between when the trailing varieties mature and when Triple Crown matures.

"Eclipse has inherited the outstanding flavor of Triple Crown, beloved for its sweet, fruity taste with notes of root beer and spice. But what Eclipse has in it that Triple Crown does not is a firmer skin and good crispness. A firmer skin also means the berries handle and ship better and don't lose juice, which is always an attractive feature for the fresh market," said organic technician Mary Peterson, who works in the breeding program at blackberries.


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DATA SHEET


For more on the features of Eclipse we refer to the article 'Eclipse Thornless Semierect Blackberry published in American Society for Horticultural Science.


GALAXY

The second blackberry release, Galaxy, also has Triple Crown as a parent and inherits similar characteristics, with Eclipse's firmer skin. But it produces a few days earlier than Eclipse. The berries of Galaxy are slightly larger than those of Eclipse with darker coloured fruit.

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"People who tasted Galaxy detected hints of blueberry, mint and grapes," said Peterson.

DATA SHEET


For more on Galaxy's characteristics we refer to the article 'Galaxy' Thornless Semierect Blackberry published in American Society for Horticultural Science.


TWILIGHT

The third variety was named following the same sky theme, and the specific name Twilight was chosen because it is the later of the three varieties, 4-5 days after Eclipse, Peterson explained.

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