Florence (EM372) was raised in 1987 from the cross [Tioga x (Redgauntlet x (Wiltguard x Gorella))] x (Providence x self).
The berries have a regular conical shape, with firm skin and flesh and very good flavour. They have a full red colour and rather matt skin finish, similar to Domanil. Fruit must be picked when fully coloured to achieve the best flavour. Shelf life is very good and the appearance of fully ripe berries does not deteriorate during a standard cool chain process. The best colour is achieved when using blue or black polythene mulch. White mulch should be avoided.
Yield and Fruit Size
In trials at East Malling the class 1 yield has exceeded Elsanta in four years out of six. Florence also has larger average fruit uit size than Elsanta combined with lower percentage waste.
Florence is a late dessert type that provides high quality fruit during the period immediately after the Elsanta season. The firm, regular berries are suitable for all outlets and the excellent flavour is a useful attribute for marketing.
Plants are moderately vigorous with an erect habit and the fruit is well displayed. Runner production is very good and the quality of the runner plants means that Florence performs well as a 60 day plant. Planting density should be less than for Elsanta.
Florence is moderately resistant to powdery mildew and other fungal leaf diseases. The variety has also shown tolerance to vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatas) and has good resistance to wilt (Verticillium dahliae) and crown rot (Phytophthora cactorum).
Use of the Variety
Florence will offer growers the option to extend their production of firm, high quality berries after Elsanta and other mid-season varieties have finished cropping. Florence is a robust variety suitable to a range of different growing systems and the multiple disease and pest resistance will make it particularly attractive to growers on problem sites and those wishing to use low input systems.