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puffing—a process used for drying many fruits and vegetables—has recently been used successfully. This may greatly expand many markets for these popular fruits and could perhaps be applicable to the South American blueberries also.

North American growers have trouble supplying enough blueberries to consumers at home and abroad, given that the harvest season is only 6 weeks in the spring. Thus, the success of new technologies for preserving berries would open the possibility of countries in the Southern Hemisphere supplying northern markets in the off-season.

Other Developing Areas. Because of their extraordinary size and flavor, the mora de Castilla and the giant Colombian berry deserve trials in upland areas of the tropics. However, because their growth habits are not well understood and their genotypes largely uncollected, substantial commercial efforts should await the results of development trials in South America. Also, because of their vigor, thorniness, and easy dispersal by birds, no Rubus species should be introduced to new areas without extreme care.

Industrialized Regions. The main value of these Andean berries for horticulture in Europe, North America, and other temperate zones is as sources of genes. Because of its vigor and the size and quality of its fruit, the mora de Castilla, in particular, could prove an excellent subject for crossing with northern raspberries. In addition, the unusually large size of the Colombian berry is a valuable characteristic that might be combined, by means of hybridization, with cultivated raspberries. However, previous trials have shown this plant to be susceptible to some North American raspberry diseases, and the process of capitalizing on its genetic characteristics may be slow and difficult.15

Ugni suffers no such limitations, and it deserves trial plantings and development in many parts of the temperate zones. To ease its introduction into markets in English-speaking regions, the fruit would benefit from a new name. “Murtilla” (pronounced “mur-tee-ya”), a common name for it in Chile, is one possibility. Perhaps the best, however, is “myrtle berry,” a name now being used by Chilean exporters.


15 Information from G. Galleta.


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