Sweet cherry and cherry - we can say that these two different cultures are in many ways similar, but also different in many ways. Well, for example, a clear difference is visible if we consider the leaf blades (in cherries they are more massive, more elongated) or the fruits - sweet cherries are more dessert, large ...
Biologically, cherries and cherries are quite close cultures, and abroad, for example, in the same England, France or Germany, the local population and large farmers often refer to cherries and cherries more than banally - sweet cherries (sweet cherries) and sour cherries (cherries) ...
It has been noticed that these two cultures cross very easily with each other, but often the result of such crosses is plants that do not form fruits at all, but among the mass of specimens there are also those that bear fruit quite well. This is what the dukes are - one might say, successful hybrids of cherries and cherries.
Judging by the phenotypic traits, that is, what we see with our own eyes, the dukes are something in between cherries and cherries, but still, according to the taste characteristics of the fruits, we can confidently say that they are closer to cherries.
If you look at the leaf blades, you can see that their size is much larger than those of cherries, they rather resemble sweet cherry leaves, but denser and have a clearly visible shine, like cherry ones.
Fruit formation in cherry and sweet cherry hybrids occurs on short fruit shoots and bouquet branches. The fruits themselves, although inferior in taste to cherry fruits, are still larger in size, usually their minimum weight is about 10 g, and the maximum fruit weight often exceeds 20 g. Despite the fact that the taste of the fruits is closer to cherry, and the consistency of the pulp is also makes you think that it is cherry fruit in front of you, yet the content of a number of components, in particular, sugars in dukes is much higher and is closer to that of cherry fruits, and the taste suffers due to the large amount of acids.
Immediately I want to touch on the disadvantages of the dukes. The main thing is that in hybrids after three seasons of the most active fruiting, the productivity of such fruit formations as bouquet twigs decreases quite sharply, and after 8-9 years of fruiting these fruit formations usually die off, and the fruits are formed only on short fruit loops ...
In addition, dukes inherited a very average winter hardiness from sweet cherries, so they can be grown without problems in the south and in the center of Russia, but to the north they can suffer from freezing, when wood does not have time to ripen from provocative thaws in the middle of winter and generative (flower) buds die. Flowers also cannot boast of heroic winter hardiness, already a couple of degrees of unexpected frost during the flowering period can make them sterile in an instant. However, in terms of winter hardiness, they, although slightly, are superior to cherries, so you can risk growing ducks in the Moscow region.
Many readers will certainly be interested in the naming of this plant, why, in fact, is a duke? It turns out that the word "duke" comes from the abbreviated naming of the very first cultivar obtained in England and called "May-duke", that's the whole secret. This cultivar was obtained at the turn of the 17th century and was then considered a miracle, a new type of plant, was widely advertised and was especially popular with the then lovers of curiosities, although it was sold for solid money.
Rumors about the May-duke variety reached the North Caucasus, where this cultivar was also in demand, although not as great as in its homeland. It is interesting, but to this day in the North Caucasus you can find plants of this variety, of course, not planted in the 17th century, but subsequently propagated vegetatively and planted again.
You can distinguish this sort of duke from another plant or variety, if you are careful. First, the narrow-pyramidal crown of the plant is striking, very rare, which is an amazing phenomenon for both cherries and cherries. Fruits, which may not appear every year, differ in weight about 5 g, although foreign sites claim that the mass of the variety's fruits is at least twice as high. They are dark red in color and creamy pink flesh, quite sweet, but with a typical cherry "sourness" that is noticeably felt.
When fully ripe, the fruits, of which there can be a lot on the plant, do not crumble and hang on the branches for a long time, until the birds begin to pay attention to them, pecking at those that are located higher.
Alas, the variety has a drawback - a rather mediocre winter hardiness, making it impossible to grow it even in the center of Russia. In severe winters, the plant freezes to the level of the snow cover.
Breeding dukes in Russia
You should not think that the selection of dukes in our country was not carried out, and although there are no varieties of this culture in the State Register of Breeding Achievements to this day, there was still a selection. Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin became interested in the ducks. He, by crossing the then popular variety of cherries Bel and Winkler Belaya cherries, received the cultivar of Duke Kras Severa.
This variety is considered lost, but if you look carefully, you can find it from collectors and, as they assure, this variety is almost the only winter-hardy among all Duke cultivars on the planet.
At one time, the Krasa Severa variety was very widespread in Michurinsk, where the great breeder lived and worked. Thanks to motley merchants, the seedlings were also taken out of the modest town - they ended up in Moscow, Leningrad and even the Middle Volga region, although Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin himself was against such movements of the variety and always insisted that he still needed to be "brought to mind" before relying on for a novelty. Naturally, in the northern regions, the variety died, but in the Moscow region in normal, not characterized by the severity of winters, it survived favorably and gave excellent fruits. By the way, they were quite large and almost doubled the mass of the first grade Duke. Interestingly, the color of the fruit was light red, it seemed that the skin was transparent and through it one could see the most delicate pulp, which was distinguished by a creamy yellow color. The flavor was normal, with a distinct cherry flavor, but still more pleasant.
It is clear that Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin did not stop in his attempts to create a cherry variety for the North, he continued crossing and just a few years later showed the world another variety, calling it Consumer Black. This variety, alas, is now impossible or extremely difficult to find, there is no information about the sale of seedlings. The variety turned out to be a little more winter-hardy, but "left" in the direction of cherries - the fruits were no more than 5 g, had a dark, almost black color when fully ripe, and were distinguished by increased sugar content, albeit with an admixture of acid inherent in cherries. Many liked the taste, many gardeners gave part of their plots to this variety, but later they were disappointed, because the cultivar had a pronounced frequency of fruiting and low productivity.
It is not known more about the varieties of dukes created by Michurin, but there is reliable information that Rossosh took over the baton in their selection - there the crossing of the two cultures began actively at the turn of the 30s. XX century. In addition, breeding work on a slightly more modest scale was carried out in Melitopol.
The result of breeding work in Russia was the classic varieties of dukes, which, for one reason or another, were not included in the State Register, but "scattered" among gardeners, and no, no, and are found in the sale of nurseries in the southern strip of Russia.
Such, for example, is the cultivar "Miracle-cherry", the author of which is A.I. Taranenko.It was obtained by crossing the famous Griot Ostheimsky cultivar and the no less famous cherry cultivar - Valery Chkalov. This variety from domestic cultivars inherited most of the positive traits from the sweet cherry. So, for example, it has very strong and thick annual growths characteristic of cherries, and the leaf blades are large, like those of cherries, but denser and shinier, like cherry ones. By the type of fruiting, the Miracle cherry is also close to the sweet cherry, the fruits are formed on bouquet branches, very densely covering the biennial shoots. During the fruiting period, the tree simply delights, it stands as if sprinkled with fruits, and the fruits, resembling grapes in size, literally hang from the shoots on long stalks. They exceed a mass of 10 g, have a flat-round shape, dark red color and pleasant, cherry-cherry to taste, pulp. As for winter hardiness, it is considered satisfactory, in the center of Russia the variety feels great, only in especially harsh years up to half of the flower buds can die, but it is better not to plant the variety further north. Well, as for resistance to moniliosis and coccomycosis, the variety for this indicator gives a big head start to both crops. The variety differs in the early ripeness period - around the middle of June, you can already collect fresh fruits.
Division of varieties into ripening groups
The newest dyke cultivars can be grouped into five distinct categories, characterized by different ripeness periods.
- The first group includes early maturing cultivars. This is Pren Koray, our Miracle-cherry and also our variety Strong, they already give a harvest ready for harvest in mid-June.
- Group two (the fruits ripen in about a week) includes varieties: Saratov Malyshka, Daughter of Yaroslavna and Melitopolskaya Joy.
- The third category includes those that ripen around the end of June, these are Theesan, Nurse, Spartanka and Khodos.
- Group four (the fruits of these varieties ripen at the very beginning of July) are Ivanovna, Dorodnaya, Pivoni and Donetsk Giant.
- The fruits of the fifth group of dykes ripen later than others, approximately in the middle or even the third decade of July. This is Nochka, Excellent Venyaminova and Shpanka Donetskaya (not to be confused with Shpanka Bryanskaya - this is an ordinary cherry).
Continued - in the article How to grow ducks?
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