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Pome Fruits Review

Pome Fruits – Section Review

Pome fruits are all members of the Rosaceae, or rose family, subfamily Pomoideae. Take a moment to find the pome fruits on the family tree of the Rosaceae. This tree will be useful for about half of the information in the course, since so many major fruit crops are found within the rose family.

Some important points to remember about pome fruits:

• The fruit type, a pome, derives from a flower with an inferior, compound ovary, which is different from other members of the Rosaceae. The edible portion derives from non-ovarian tissue. A schematic drawing of the apple flower is provided in the introductory chapter.

• Apple, European pear, and quince all have the same geographic origin, and may have the same progenitor species, probably now extinct. Only Juneberry and Mayhaw, both very minor in importance, are native to the US, yet the pome fruit industry in the US exceeds 2 billion $/year. This is a common theme throughout agriculture – many of the crop plants grown in the USA are not native. Think about the implications of this in terms of adaptation and pest management.

• Apple and pear have a long history of research compared to most other tree crops, and therefore have more training systems, rootstocks, and cultural techniques in general than we will see for other tree crops.

• Focus on the similarities and differences between apple and European pear as you read; these are by far the most important crops in this section. In particular, study the inflorescences, chilling requirement and cold hardiness, and harvest maturity information.

• Pome fruits, in general, are adapted to the cool temperate zone regions of the world. This means you will find them in the northerly extent of the range where fruit crops can be grown. This does not mean that they cannot be grown in warmer regions, but when they are, special problems may arise and commercial cultivation is much more limited. In contrast, the stone fruits are adapted and grown in the warmer range of the temperate zone.

• Pome fruits generally have a long storage life – up to a year for some apples. This permits an extended market season by cultivation of only a few varieties. In contrast, stone fruits have short storage lives; some growers need over 20 different varieties just to market fruit over a 3 month period.