Evaluation of American (Sambucus canadensis) and European (S. nigra) elderberry genotypes grown in diverse environments and implications for cultivar development.
American (Sambucus canadensis L.) elderberry genotypes were evaluated at multiple locations, whereas European (S. nigra L.) elderberry genotypes were evaluated at a single location to assess genotypic differences and, for genotypes evaluated at multiple locations, to determine genotype × environment interactions (G × E). Seventeen S. canadensis genotypes were planted in replicated trials at Missouri State University (Mountain Grove, MO) and at the University of Missouri (Mt. Vernon, MO) or at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service in Oregon (Corvallis). 'Johns', 'Netzer', 'Adams II', and 'Gordon B' were in common at all locations. In addition, three genotypes of S. nigra, which are not winter-hardy in Missouri, were planted in Oregon. All plants were established in 2003 and evaluated in 2004, 2005, and, for some traits, in 2006. Plants were evaluated for phenology (e.g., dates of budbreak, first flowering, full flowering, and first ripening), vegetative growth (e.g., number of shoots and plant height), yield components (e.g., total yield, number of cymes, cyme weight, and berry weight), and for pest incidence (e.g., eriophyid mites). For the genotypes in common to all locations, there were significant differences resulting from genotype, location, year, and the interactions for various traits. Although the trend was for Corvallis to have the highest and Mt. Vernon the lowest yield, there was no significant location effect. The significant genotype × environment interaction appeared to be primarily the result of the differential performance of 'Johns', which was generally high-yielding in Corvallis and low-yielding at both Missouri locations. The significant G × E suggests that as the Missouri institutions develop new cultivars, it will be important to test them individually at other locations and not rely on their relative performance compared with standards in Missouri. For the genotypes in common to the two Missouri sites, there was significant variation for many traits. Although there were no differences among genotypes for yield across the locations, there was a significant G × E. Although there were some small changes in performance among the sites for yield, the most dramatic changes were for 'Wyldewood 1' that was the second highest yielding genotype at Mountain Grove and the second worst at Mt. Vernon. Plant growth in Oregon was 40% and 60% greater than at Mountain Grove and Mt. Vernon, respectively, when the plants were first measured. In Oregon, the two Sambucus species behaved differently. Phenologically, although the S. nigra genotypes flowered ∼3 weeks earlier than the S. canadensis genotypes, they ripened at the same time, thereby shortening their exposure to potential biotic and abiotic stress. 'Johns', 'York', 'Golden', and 'Gordon B' were the highest yielding S. canadensis genotypes and 'Korsør' the highest of the S. nigra genotypes. Although 'Korsør' is considered high-yielding in Denmark, it did not yield as well as the highest yielding S. canadensis cultivars.