University of Florida

UF/IFAS Plant Breeding Accomplishments

The basis for Florida’s multi-billion dollar plant agricultural industry is new cultivars of the various species that are well adapted to Florida growing conditions. UF/IFAS plant breeders have been involved in crop improvement research since the very inception of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station (FAES). The first named cultivar released by the FAES was ‘Florida’ velvetbean released in 1895. Numerous other UF/IFAS commodity breeding programs have long histories of development of outstanding cultivars. Examples include the tomato improvement program whose first release was ‘Marglobe’ in 1925. The first successful man-made cross of peanut was reported by Dr. Fred Hull in 1928 and the first interspecific cross in peanut was made by Dr. Hull in 1929. The first UF/IFAS peanut cultivar resulting from breeding efforts was Dixie Runner released in 1943 which was an industry standard for many years. The UF/IFAS stonefruit breeding program released the first commercial quality low chill peach cultivar ‘Flordaprince’ in 1982 and it is still grown in many subtropical countries. This cultivar was the first subtropical peach to win the ASHS plant breeding working groups outstanding cultivar award. Today UF/IFAS breeding programs in blueberry and strawberry are developing cultivars that are being grown worldwide in subtropical “low-chill” production zones. Many other valuable Florida fruit, vegetable, agronomic, and ornamental commodities are successful today because of superior cultivars developed over many years of UF/IFAS plant breeding research. A recent document entitled New Plants for Florida - Varieties Developed by the UF/IFAS Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Research (2013 Update) contains additional background information on UF/IFAS plant breeding programs. This publication can be accessed electronically at . Current plant reports on plant breeding efforts in 15 commodities or groups of commodities currently being researched at UF/IFAS can be found at

Edited & Updated by Ken Quesenberry December 2016