NATIVE PLANT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Throughout the province of Quebec, Canada, there are more than 40 native plant species producing edible fruits. From these species, it appears that some have the potential to be grown on a commercial basis. In 1996, many cultivators specialized in different horticultural crops, expressed their interest in diversifying their enterprises. To fulfill the needs of these cultivators, the Research and Development Institute for the Agri-Environment (IRDA), along with Ministère de lAgriculture, des Pêcheries et de lAlimentation du Québec, began to work on a native fruit development program. Since then, the plants that are being studied include the native species of the genus Rubus, Amelanchier, Viburnum and Aronia, respectively called blackberry, juneberry, cranberrybush and black chokeberry. The objectives of the program are to select individual clones in the wild that display interesting agronomic characteristics and to evaluate their performance as fruit crops; to develop plant production schemes; to determine cultural requirements; to identify major pests and diseases and develop integrated pest management programs; to transform these fruits into different high-value products and to carry out market research. The touristic aspect also represents an important part of the project. Six plantings, each designed by a landscape specialist, have been carried out on six farms in the Quebec city area. Twelve different clones of blackberry and seven different clones of juneberry were evaluated on these private farms and at the IRDAs Research Farm. The work accomplished to date is, of course, a first step in developing native fruit crops. Valuable cultivars of blackberry and juneberry will be released on a small scale. However, research will continue to improve the quality of these cultivars. Extensive pests and diseases surveys have also been conducted. Plant production schemes are available and high-value products have been developed. A production guide will soon be available.
Rousseau, H. and Bergeron, D. (2003). NATIVE PLANT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. Acta Hortic. 626, 375-380
Propagation, cultivar trials, processing, Rubus, Amelanchier, Viburnum, Aronia