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Old deciduous fruit trees of the Rosaceae in Israel and their utilization in modern agriculture and breeding

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The agricultural and scientific importance of keeping and preserving large and variable collections of local old cultivars and of wild plant species is now increasingly recognized all over the world. Fruit trees of the Rosaceae are known to have grown in Israel since biblical times. Although Israel is not considered as the origin of most deciduous fruit species, old cultivars of this family have been grown continuously in Israel by traditional farmers for centuries. These include almonds, apricots, peaches, plums, quinces, apples, and pears. Some of them are found as wild trees, grown in woodland habitats, or as wild escapees of old cultivars. Most of the old cultivars are of no current agricultural or commercial importance, as their fruit qualities are inferior to modern cultivars. However, some of the old cultivars are specially adapted to the Israeli climate and possess important features that include resistance to diseases and pests, higher tolerance to abiotic stresses, and low chilling requirements. In an effort to preserve and study the biology of old fruit tree species, fruit trees of the Rosaceae family from various parts of the country are grown under an intensive orchard regime in Newe Ya'ar Research Center. These intensive orchard conditions enable us to follow up and study their growth habits and fruit characteristics, and to use them in breeding programs.This review outlines the important agricultural traits exhibited by some of the old deciduous fruit trees in the Newe Ya'ar Germplasm Collection and describes how they are integrated and used in modern fruit tree breeding programs in Israel.

Affiliations: 1: Fruit Culture, Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization vhhollan@volcani.agri.gov.il ; 2: Fruit Culture, Newe Ya'ar Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization

10.1560/IJPS_54_3_169
/content/journals/10.1560/ijps_54_3_169
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2006-05-13
2018-07-17

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