Tree fruit and bush fruit cultivars of Estonian origin and their value.
The first Estonian apple cultivars ‘Suislepp’ and ‘Tallinna pirnõun’ were introduced in the 18th
century. In the 19th
century, two apple cultivars were introduced in addition. The other Estonian tree fruit and small fruit cultivars has been bred in the 20th
century, mostly from the thirties and fourties. The whole number of Estonian cultivars (1998) is 117, including 35 apple, 10 pear, 24 plum, 4 sour cherry, 3 sweet cherry, 7 strawberry, 4 raspberry, 2 red currant, 3 white currant, 10 black currant, 7 gooseberry, 6 cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus), 1 lingonberry, and 1 cloudberry cultivar. Altogether 57 cultivars are originated in the Polli Horticultural Institute, 10 – in the Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute, 34 are bred by amateur breeders (including the 6 cranberry cultivars in the Nigula Nature Reserve) and 16 are landraces.
There are many selections in the breeding in progress. Especially numerous selections are in sweet cherry which were planted (1998) into second test at the Rõhu state experimental farm. Some apple and plum selections have shown a good perspective for growing in Latvia as well.
Estonian cultivars have great importance for fruit and berry producing. Thus, in the list of the recommended for growing in Estonia cultivars (from 1998) of Estonian origin are: 50% apple cultivars (including 21% of Polli’s) origin, 100% pear cultivars, 59% plum cultivars (41% are Polli’s), 17% sour cherry, 60% sweet cherry (all from Polli), 38% raspberry (all from Polli), 20% black currant (including 1 Polli’s cultivar), and 100% cranberry cultivars.
In Latvia, 4 apple, 1 pear, 2 plum, and 2 sweet cherry cultivars of Estonian origin are included into the list of recommended for growing in Latvian orchards. One apple cultivar, ‘Tellissaare’ is recommended for growing also in Lithuania and Belarus. The most widely cultivated Estonian apple cultivar is ‘Suislepp’: from the Baltic to Kazakhstan and the eastern coastal areas of Black Sea.
‘Suislepp’ is also the most valuable parent cultivar in apple breeding among the Esto-nian cultivars. There are at least 16 cultivars which pedigree consists ‘Suislepp’. They are bred in Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Russia (Krasnodar district and Michurinsk).
Not one bush fruit cultivar of Estonian origin is widely distributed in other countries.