Moutere raspberry

A horticultural research team from New Zealand and Canada has introduced Moutere, a new red raspberry cultivar which, according to its developers, could offer fresh impetus to early-season, high-grade production in a number of key growing areas worldwide.

The new floricane fruiting red raspberry was created as part of a planned breeding program at Plant and Food Research, formerly known as HortResearch.

The name Moutere, a Maori word meaning 'island', was chosen because the cultivar was selected near the rural area and townships of Upper Moutere and Lower Moutere, adjacent to Motueka, New Zealand.

Although no large-scale trials of the cultivar have as yet been conducted, it has apparently performed well over the past few years during research trials in British Columbia, Canada, and in the Nelson region of New Zealand.

'The new variety is distinguished by high yields of large, uniform size, bright red berries,' said a spokesman for the American Society for Horticultural Science, which features the new cultivar in the latest edition of its journal. 'The fruit is suitable for consumption as early season high-grade fresh berries and is very attractive when packaged for the fresh market.'

According to the scientists involved in its development, Moutere should be well-adapted to US hardiness zones 8-10, and will produce high yields of large attractive fruit in fertile soils with good management and sufficient winter chill.

The plant resportedly adapts well to a wide range of environments and has been noted as a useful breeding parent for resistance to Raspberry Bushy Dwarf Virus (RBDV) as well as the North American raspberry aphid.

The research team included Mark Joseph Stephens of Plant and Food Research, Chaim Kempler of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, and Harvey Hall of Motueka-based Shekinah Berries.

» The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site.