Sant’Orsola’s raspberry breeding program

P. Zucchi, L. Osti, S. Giacomelli, A. del Sorbo, G. Savini
Sant’Orsola S.C.A. is the Italian leading Producer Organisation specialised in the production and marketing of a wide range of berry fruits: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red currants, and strawberries. Established in 1972 in Trentino, the cooperative counts 800 associate growers with 570 ha of cultivated surface in several Italian regions. In 2002, Sant’Orsola decided to set up a raspberry breeding program to satisfy the company and its growers’ specific needs, aiming to obtain more resilient plants to biotic and abiotic stress, and adaptable to the diverse climatic conditions in which Sant’Orsola's growers are operating. Furthermore, key traits are appealing fruits with long shelf-life and being able to meet consumer preferences. The breeding program is focused on both floricane and primocane genotypes, and it is managed in soilless conditions under plastic-covered high tunnels, following the growers’ technique. Sant’Orsola owns 12 Plant Variety Rights. The floricane-fruiting ‘Lagorai Plus’ and ‘Vajolet’ are leading genotypes in Europe, well known for their high yield and excellent fruits. The other cultivars are primocane-fruiting. Among the last releases, ‘Dafne’ is a primocane genotype that can be used as longcane too. Its deep-red, glossy, big fruits have a delicious taste and excellent shelf-life. ‘Atena’ is a medium-late season cultivar, the fruits are firm, very easy to pick, and the pinkish colour is stable during the shelf-life. ‘Gioiosa SO’ is a late primocane cultivar suitable for southern climates with rustic vigorous plants and very big orange-red fruits. ‘Ofelia SO’, the newest, is an early-season, high-yield cultivar. Its beautiful light-red fruits are suitable for long storage. Some floricane advanced selections, characterised by very high yield and resiliency to heat waves, are in the final evaluation stage in in grower’s field trials. Sant’Orsola directly manages its variety licences to grower’s companies or nurseries. Actually, Sant’Orsola’s cultivars are present in several countries all around the world.
Zucchi, P., Osti, L., Giacomelli, S., del Sorbo, A. and Savini, G. (2024). Sant’Orsola’s raspberry breeding program. Acta Hortic. 1388, 41-46
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2024.1388.5
floricane, primocane, fruit, yield, licence

Acta Horticulturae