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New easy-peel mandarins for the home garden

New easy-peel mandarins for the home garden

HortResearch has released four easy-peel mandarins for the home garden.

They are 'Bay Zest', 'Bay Sweetie', 'Bay Sunset' and 'Bay Gold'. The "Bay" name is derived from the three major citrus growing regions of New Zealand: Bay of Islands, Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay. Plant Variety Rights will be sought for each of the varieties and they have been licensed as a suite to Tharfield Nursery Limited for commercial development (

Breeder and scientist, Dr Alastair Currie said, "All the Bay series trees have attractive foliage, showy perfumed flowers and fruit with good eating qualities. They are sure to make an attractive addition to the garden."

'Bay Zest', was bred at the HortResearch research orchard at Te Puke and planted in 1981. It is expected to perform best in the warmer regions of the country and matures from late July to November.

'Bay Sunset' resulted from a cross between Clementine x Seminole Tangelo in 1987 and was tested in the research orchard in Kerikeri. It was selected for its unusual striped fruit and attractive foliage.

'Bay Sweetie' was crossed in 1987 in Kerikeri. It is disease-free and may be seedless when planted in large blocks.

'Bay Gold' is a tangelo maturing from early September to late October. It was bred in Te Puke and planted in 1978. It is suited to the home garden because of resistance to Alternaria fungal disease, large, attractive fruit and tangy flavour.

The HortResearch citrus breeding programme has been based at Kerikeri since 1989 and aims to select easy-peel, seedless, sweet and flavoursome mandarins with a range of harvest maturities and grown on trees adapted to New Zealand's relatively cool maritime climate.

Over the years 80 selections have been made.

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