Quince (Cydonia oblonga) germplasm and breeding strategies in Iran

H. Abdollahi
Quince (Cydonia oblonga) genetic resources are to be found in wild populations in northern Iran, Turkmenistan, and the Caucasus. In Iran, wild and cultivated genotypes of quinces are native to North, North-East, North-West, West, and central provinces, with the current dominance of commercial cultivar ‘Isfahan’ (syn. ‘Esfahan’) in orchards. The main objectives of quince breeding in recent two decades have been the collecting of germplasm, principally for fire blight resistance, high productivity and improved growth habit, tolerance to the iron chlorosis, and finally fruit quality and fresh use. These breeding purposes have been initially followed by the selection of wild germplasm and local cultivars between 1998-2003 and by the establishment of germplasm collection and establishment of quince germplasm collection in 2004 that now contains more than 50 selected accessions. Following the first evaluations of this germplasm, five promising cultivars were selected and a new cultivar, entitled the cultivar ‘Viduja’, was released for its high productivity, enhanced growth habit, and more resistance to the fire blight disease, compared to the commercial cultivar ‘Isfahan’. These attempts revealed the potential of the Iranian quince germplasm for more advanced breeding programs, especially for productivity and fruit quality by hybridization between selected accessions. The germplasm evaluation programs also demonstrated the presence of genotypes with more productive growth habit and spur type growth in the germplasm of the central region, while the best fruit qualities were observed in the germplasm of central and northwestern regions, where in both regions, native quince tree landraces demonstrating the valuable potential for direct release as new cultivars. These attempts have shown the vast diversity and important commercial characteristics in the individual germplasm of various regions of Iran also revealed the further potential of this germplasm for use in practical hybridization programs for more advanced breeding strategies.
Abdollahi, H. (2021). Quince (Cydonia oblonga) germplasm and breeding strategies in Iran. Acta Hortic. 1315, 213-220
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1315.33
germplasm collection, fire blight, promising cultivars, hybridization, native cultivars

Acta Horticulturae