Hybridizing stone fruits


Here’s the Nectamond, a cross between Flavor Top Nectarine, pollen parent, x F1 Nonpareil Almond, seed parent.


Use a work shop vice to slowly crush the edges of the shell. Vise-grip pliers would work. Using pliers or a hammer run the risk of damaging the pit. Soak the pits in water for an hour, they should sink. Surround the pit with slightly moist, not wet potting mix. A wet mix may cause the pit to rot, I have experienced this. Less moisture is better than too much. A plastic snack bag, less than half the size of a sandwich bag works well. A small hand full of soil is all that is needed to surround the pit. Keep it in the refrigerator until they sprout, about two months.


Here’s the first Nectarine seedling. It’s way too early to tell whether is a Nectarcot or a standard Nectarine.


The Nectamond.


Progress photo


Now it’s starting to look more like a cherry.


Here are some Bing Cherry leaf photos for comparison. There are no reddish brown bumps on the stem like that of a cherry leaf. They look more mulberry like to me, the upper part of the leaves become really jagged.




Flavor Top Nectarine seedling, a Nectarcot?


F2 Almond seedling (pollinated by Flavor Top Nectarine) is starting to germinate and it appears it might have red leaves.



Here’s the Nectamond.


Why don’t you guys go stoneless?


Man Burbank is the king of breeding, How did he do so much with such different plants? The guy was amazing.


I just read the bulk of this thread for the first. I can’t believe I’ve missed so much of it.

Lon Rombough’s death was such a loss to fruit breeding (especially grapes). He was a very valuable contributor on Nafex (when that forum was the major fruit forum in the earlier days of the Internet). If he were still alive he could offer so much here.

I enjoy reading the breeding progress here, but might offer a few comments, based upon my knowledge, however limited it be.

  1. Nectarines are simply a fuzzless peach, with the dominant gene being the fuzz. I don’t see any genetic advantage to crossing various peaches/nectarines to try to come up with a new fuzzless peach (i.e. nectarine) for the sake of having a fuzzless peach. Fuzz is a turn-off to mouth-feel, but nect X nect might be a better probability to come up with a superior nect vs. nect X peach. I will concede nectarines generally have a more acidic flavor, but that trait wouldn’t at all be entirely attributable to nectarines. Plenty of nects have been developed as sub-acid, and plenty of peaches are acidic.

2, I would caution the assumption that all Indian Free are self-sterile, and so guaranteed to be bullet proof in hybrid crossing. First, my understanding is that the self-sterility in these peach varieties are the result of male sterility. In other words the pollen is sterile. That would negate efforts using pollen from self-sterile peaches to fertilize any other fruits. In other words, these peaches could not be used as a pollen donor to fertilize other fruits, as has been suggested earlier.

Additionally, not all of the self-sterile peaches are going to be “self-sterile”. I’ve read 5 to 10 percent of J.H. Hale (another “self-sterile” peach) are not self-sterile, but in fact self-fertile, depending on the environment.

Lastly, some of the offspring of these self-sterile peaches are in fact fully self-fertile. This can be significant if a nursery is not selling a true to name variety of Indian Free, but a seedling to it’s customers. I believe this has occurred with peach cultivars before.

I encourage people experimenting with breeding experiments, but would caution the only way to be assured of successful hybrid crosses would be genetic testing (though I’m sure it’s expensive). Phenotypic analysis (i.e. observation of physical characteristics) isn’t very definitive.

For peaches, there are wide and vast phenotypic differences, in the shape, color, and size of the fruit. Some peaches have a very prominent apex (i.e. pointed) and some virtually non-existent (very smooth-generally smooth apex is preferred commercially because it doesn’t “poke” the other peaches stacked next to it). Color varies from green to double red. Size and pit to flesh ratio varies widely (obviously large size and small pit to flesh ratio is attractive commercially).

All that said, some of the most important characteristics of a new and promising peach for me would be:

-Flavor (mostly brix, but some balance of acid)
-Productivity in marginal years. Including winter hardiness and frost tolerance (or late blooming)
-Bac. spot resistance


I found this picture of a Nectarcot tree on Facebook and the leaves look exactly like that of a Nectarine. So as I stated before, it’s going to be hard to tell apart my Nectarine x Apricot hybrids, if any, from the standard Nectarine seedlings.


My objective from crossing a Nectarine x Peach hybrid is to create a red flesh nectarine. The red flesh genes will come from Indian Free Peach.


It would be interesting to cross a Burbank seedless plum with a cherry.


That’s good info, thanks. I didn’t use it myself, but much talk about using it.
It also is very confusing as most plums are self sterile, although maybe the wording is bad here? Yet I’m fairly certain the pollen is good. Peaches and plums are Prunus species. What am i missing? It is news to me that the pollen of Indian Free is bad? Why? Cherries often reject pollen because it is too self like. I have not really read any literature on Indian Free. My Indian Free btw came from Dave Wilson Nurseries, so I’m confident it is as authentic as possible. I actually don’t know of another nursery propagating it? It really is closely related to Indian Blood, Free was shortened from freestone to distinguish them.I bagged my crosses so I knew what they were. I did not emasculate (I will in future attempts!) the flower though. I have three seedlings, I just need one, so hopefully I’ll get a good cross. if not I’ll try again. Did you see my raspberry? Now that was tough having to use sulfuric acid on the seeds and all. i wanted an orange raspberry. Out of five seedlings one grew 5 times bigger. The smaller ones all died, but this one remained. The raspberry wasn’t orange but pink, still super cool, I named it Irene. A cross of a yellow and a red (Anne x Polka). It does turn a deeper pink, at this stage it’s edible, almost looks like orange shebet, what I would like!

But the fruit turned a deeper pink when fully ripe.

What’s cool about brambles is often you cannot get enough pollen on the flower to pollinate all of the seeds in the flower. So it does not make a full set of drupes (or drupelets I guess is the proper term),. But this let’s you know you have a good cross with the ones that are there.
Notice this bagged blackberry only set a few seeded drupelets compared to the others left alone, and not protected from other pollen.


Oh, I see. That’s how they developed the Raspberry Red nectarine.

I’m not sure why the pollen is sterile. I’ve just always read it is. Here’s one source I just now googled, “The variety Indian Free produces sterile pollen and needs another peach variety for pollenization.”

I suspect the monogenic trait is the same as J.H Hale. That is, Indian Free produces pollen, but the pollen is sterile. The trait is recessive in J.H Hale. They’ve identified the gene causing this as ps in J.H. Hale.

" Most cases of pollen sterility originate
from the ‘J. H. Hale’ variety, which has a very high
agronomic value. Therefore, as this variety is frequently
used for breeding, this character can be a problem for
growers. Male sterility was first reported to be control-
led by a single recessive gene, designated as
and Weinberger 1944)."

I mentioned my concern about the trueness to name on Indian Free because sometimes nurseries are really propagating seedlings of once famous peaches. I think this has happened with Early Crawford. I wonder if it’s possible with Indian Free as well? I’ve read once that even the old standard peach Redhaven has many strains floating around out there. People assume one Redhaven is the same as the next, but apparently that’s not so. I’ve read Indian Blood peach used to be routinely propagated from seedlings, because it stays fairly “true”.

I think it would be interesting if someone could test the fertility of Indian Free by “caging” some flowers and see if the the flowers set fruit. I’ve read about 10 percent of J.H. Hale flowers produce fertile pollen. If there is greater fruit set than that on Indian Free, it might be that the Indian Free which is being sold nowadays is not exactly the same Indian Free which was originally identified as pollen sterile.

I’ve read somewhere that the pollen sterile anthers of peaches look a little different than the fertile ones. Perhaps that might be helpful to folks looking to use Indian Free as a cross and to help identify which flowers might have some fertile pollen. I’m sure someone could google the appearance of monogenic peach flowers, if it might be helpful.

Nice raspberries btw. Now you just have to think of a name?