Field evaluation of new and underutilized fig cultivars for fresh and dried markets

P. Gordon, J.E. Preece, L. Ferguson, M. Aradhya, M. Norton, H. Garrison, C. DeBenedetto
Twelve new or underutilized fig (Ficus carica L.) cultivars from the collection at the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Davis, CA (NCGR) were planted in a replicated trial in Chowchilla, California. The fresh fruit from the main harvest were collected in the third year of the trial. ‘LSU Purple’ (LSU) ‘Italian 376’ and ‘Aklo Lalo’ (AL) had the highest yields. Carica × palmata (C×P) and ‘Italian 358’ (I358) required caprification and had low yields as a result. Caprification is not a desirable trait in California fig production and these trees were not caprified. The C×P trees were the tallest, possibly due to hybrid vigor, or due to their low yields. ‘Italian 88’ (I88), ‘Patlican’ (Pat), C×P, LSU, and I358 had the largest calipers. Vigor is important in figs as syconia are initiated at the nodes of leaves, and more growth can result in higher yields. AL and ‘Georgian Black’ had the heaviest individual fresh fruit weight, which is prized in both fresh and dried fig production, whereas ‘Early Violet’, ‘Black Fig #1’, and LSU had the lowest individual fresh fruit weight. Light colored cultivars such as ‘Verdal Lounge’, Pat, AL, and I88 had greater amounts of sunburn than darker colored cultivars. Despite LSU’s high yield, it is not a commercially viable cultivar for California fig production due to the small fruit size. AL and ‘Italian 376’ have large and moderately sized fruit, respectively, and may have some use as fresh or dried fruit. AL also has an ostiole size distribution that tends to open but with small eyes, which is considered to make the fruit less susceptible to insect damage.
Gordon, P., Preece, J.E., Ferguson, L., Aradhya, M., Norton, M., Garrison, H. and DeBenedetto, C. (2021). Field evaluation of new and underutilized fig cultivars for fresh and dried markets. Acta Hortic. 1310, 173-178
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1310.26
height, caliper, yield, sunburn, fruit size

Acta Horticulturae