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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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' 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.
'Electric Lights Double Pink' and 'Electric Lights Red' azaleas are the newest members of the 'Lights' series and the first new azalea releases in nearly 15 years. Electric Lights Red is the long-awaited first red azalea released by the University.
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.