After ten years of joint research, the Murcian Institute for Agrarian and Food Research and Development (IMIDA) and the Center for Soil Science and Applied Biology of the Segura (CEBAS-CSIC) have presented the first results of a genetic improvement program carried out with the Japanese plum tree. Two red-fleshed plum varieties have been obtained: the Lucia Myrtea and the Victoria Myrtea, which stand out for their great taste quality and are perfectly adapted to warm growing areas thanks to their low cold requirements.
These varieties have a number of very attractive characteristics that are in demand by consumers, such as their purplish skin and deep red flesh with a firm, juicy, aromatic texture and great flavor. All these characteristics give these two new varieties (the first of the Myrtea Plums series) a great commercial potential that will probably give a boost to Japanese plum cultivation, which has been in a decline in recent years.
Also, the early ripening of both varieties will make it possible to supply high quality red-fleshed plums throughout the month of June. The Lucía Myrtea variety will be the first red-fleshed plum available in the first days of June. Another outstanding feature is the floral self-compatibility in the case of Victoria Myrtea; a very exceptional aspect in plum varieties, and especially interesting for growers, as there is no need for pollination from another variety.
The director of CEBAS, Juan José Alarcón; the director of IMIDA, Víctor Serrano, and head researchers David Ruiz (CEBAS) and Alfonso Guevara (IMIDA).
The Lucía Myrtea and Victoria Myrtea are now available to growers through a plant material transfer system that ensures plant health and traceability. Multiplication is carried out by the Agromillora Iberia S.L. nursery, and the marketing is done through various licensed nurseries. At present, marketing licenses have already been signed with Viveros Nurfruits S.L. and Viveros José Antonio Gómez S.L.
The presentation of the new Myrtea Plums varieties was attended, among others, by the directors of the two research centers responsible for the plum tree improvement program and by the researchers. The heads of the research team said that these varieties are the result of important joint research work, and that other advanced selections are currently in the final phase of evaluation. This will make it possible to register and offer growers a significant number of new varieties in the coming years.
The Japanese plum tree breeding program has been developed and co-funded jointly by CEBAS-CSIC and IMIDA, through the Associated Unit formed by the Fruit Tree Breeding Group of CEBAS and the Fruit Tree Breeding Team of IMIDA.