Researchers are rolling out a new nut, a variety of almond not reliant on bees or nearby almond trees for pollination.
As 2021 rolls to an end, researchers are rolling out a new nut, a variety of almond not reliant on bees or nearby almond trees for pollination. Decades-long experimentation at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Parlier, Calif., resulted in the arrival of the Yorizane variety.
research geneticist Craig Ledbetter calls it a blending of the
reliable Spanish self-pollinating Tuono with the ever-popular
Nonpareil, the most planted almond tree since it was first introduced
in the 1880s.
By itself, Tuono never achieved a level of popularity despite its self-pollinating abilities because of a hairy-like surface of the outside seed coat. “It turns off U.S. almond consumers who like the smoother texture of the Nonpareil.
Additionally, small numbers of Yorizane budwood are being made available through Foundation Plant Services for further research and breeding purposes.
new nut is the offspring of a self-pollinating almond breeding
program at the ARS lab, on-going since the mid-1990s during a scare
about decimated honeybee populations. “Yorizane is the first
thing that’s come out of the almond breeding effort for me,
In 2019, the Almond Board of California tested more than 60 varieties from around the world for both characteristics and consumer attributes including such things as bloom and harvest dates, yield, ease of harvest and cracking along with shape, texture, aroma, color, and taste. Yorizane consistently scored near the top in nearly every category and ended up being one of the best-rated varieties.
“While self-fertility was always the first priority, I also wanted an almond that would differ from the original European parent in other ways because the Tuono has more shell than typical California almonds, meaning less valuable kernel weight per pound than American growers expect. The taste and feel of the nut was too different and I was after a new variety that could fit into the existing market based on shell type (to avoid pest breeching), kernel quality, and yield.”