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germplasm. There are excellent possibilities for selecting better tasting, fleshier fruits. With vegetative propagation, selected horticultural varieties could become increasingly important and widely popular in many parts of Latin America where only the inferior seedling forms now grow.
Some trees already produce large and fleshy fruits, and it is important to select and propagate them by budding or grafting.
Flavor differences are particularly important. The fruits of many trees are so bitter as to be disagreeable, whereas others (often called “capuli chaucha”) are sweet, pleasant, and delicious. This type, which compares favorably with imported cherries, should be selected and propagated. (The region around Ambato, Ecuador, is said to be a good source.)
As demand increases, processing facilities should become available to smooth out the price swings caused by glut then scarcity.
Other Developing Areas. Although this tree is known throughout most of the Americas, the best fruits are found in the Andes. Andean capulis deserve serious attention in other Latin American countries as well. It is an excellent street tree for urban areas, adding shade, beautification, and even a little nutrition. (In downtown Quito, for example, it is not uncommon to see schoolchildren clambering for fruit in the capuli trees by the bus stops.)
It also has promise outside the Americas. It can be cultivated in many regions, including some where European cherries are not successful. It may be of value in many parts of Asia Minor, northern India, and other regions with similar climate. (Strict quarantine procedures must, of course, be followed in the Old World homelands of so many Prunus species.)
Industrialized Regions. Although unequal to the cultivated European-derived cherries—produced by generations of selection and vegetative propagation—the capuli fruit is of good quality and has much potential for improvement.
The plant seems photoperiod insensitive and sufficiently hardy to permit successful cultivation as far north as California, Florida, and