Good breeding takes time. The University of Minnesota has been breeding cold-hardy, disease resistant plants for over 125 years. In that time, over 400 varieties have been released including apples, grapes, trees, flowers, and grasses. Today, University plant scientists and breeders are able to combine traditional breeding techniques with cutting-edge technology allowing them to use data and genomics not available to researchers in the past. Below, we have highlighted several current research projects and new varieties developed by U of M plant breeders.

Northern Accents® Ole, Sven, Lena and Sigrid Roses Given New Life

Northern Accents® Ole, Sven, Lena and Sigrid roses are back! Originally released in 2007 and 2009 the Northern Accents® Rose Series initially made a splash in Northern markets but as rose sales decreased during the recession, they became harder and harder for rose lovers to find. 

Introducing Juicy Jewel™ Pear Tree

Juicy Jewel™ (MN121 cultivar, US Plant Patent pending) represents the 5th pear variety released by the University’s fruit breeding program and the first Asian type. Juicy Jewel™ is an early ripening variety that lives up to its name by being very juicy and crisp. 

Introducing Golden Sunset™

Golden Sunset™ (Plant Patent Applied for No. 62/995,225) is the newest Native grass released by the University of Minnesota. It was selected for its upright stature, clean olive-green foliage, numerous early yellow and golden-bronze flowers and Zone 3 hardiness. 

Introducing Triumph™ Apple Tree

Triumph (MN80 cultivar US Plant Patent applied for) represents the 28th apple variety released by the University’s apple breeding program. This well-balanced, mid-late season apple has shown excellent scab tolerance and good storage life, making it a great choice for direct market and organic producers.

First Kiss® Licensed Growers

In 2018, Minnesota apple lovers fell in love with First Kiss®, the newest apple variety from the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program. This year there will be even more chances to experience the new Honeycrisp progeny, which is also known as Rave®, both in Minnesota and beyond.

UMN plant breeders introduce First Kiss Apple

First Kiss® /Rave® (aka MN55) represent the 27th apple variety released by the University's apple breeding program. This early-season treat features the crisp and juicy texture of Honeycrisp but will ready to harvest up to four weeks earlier. 

'Itasca' Joins List of Released Cold-Hardy Wine Grapes

Itasca wine grape.'Itasca' becomes fifth wine grape released by the University's grape breeding program. It is the first cold-hardy variety with low enough acidity to produce dry white wines.

True North™ Kentucky Coffeetree


'Stately Manor' Kentucky Coffeetree.New introduction True North™ Kentucky coffeetree offers a narrow, upright form making them suitable replacements for ash in Minnesota. Research has shown it to be easier to propagate compared to other Kentucky coffeetrees.

Pink Popcorn® Blueberry

Pink Popcorn™ Blueberry.

Pink Popcorn® (aka MNPink1 cultivar) is the first pink blueberry introduced by the University. Truly pink-fruited blueberries, with the sweet taste and satisfying crispness of the best of the blues, are a culinary novelty. 

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