Collection of North American Plums (Prunus spp.) for Use as Germplasm and Genetic Resources

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Desert Ballroom: Salons 7-8 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Dario J. Chavez , Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Thomas G. Beckman, Ph.D. , USDA–ARS, Byron, GA
José Chaparro , University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
North America is an important center of diversity for plum species. The North American plums grow in diverse climatic and geographic regions. High levels of variation for plant architecture, fruit size, flesh texture, flesh color, disease resistance, chilling requirement, and other traits, have been reported. The survival of several of these species is being negatively impacted by urban sprawl and agriculture. Similarly, climate change threatens their habitats. The objective of this research was to collect and identify plant specimens from the wild, create a herbarium and living collection that could be used to preserve the species and to clarify the phylogenetic relationships of the North American plums. The University of Florida Stone Fruit Breeding and Genetics Program in collaboration with the National Germplasm Repository and USDA–ARS (Project No. 5306-21000-018-00D) collected, identified and archived ~400 genotypes of approximately 30 taxa across the United States. Geographic coordinates, location descriptors, and plant characteristics were recorded for all these genotypes. Vouchers for each genotype were submitted and are available at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL ( Seed collected from the germplasm accessions were submitted to John E. Preece at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Fruit and Nut Crops, Davis, CA, for future use by the scientific community. These collections will allow us to preserve and conserve these species as important genetic resources of unique traits and information that could be used for breeding plum scions and rootstocks in the future. Additional information about this collection will be reported.