Lumina strawberry

Feb 14, 2024
Maryland breeding program releases Lumina, a new strawberry cultivar

The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) strawberry breeding program in Beltsville, Maryland, is releasing a new cultivar, Lumina, which produces lustrous bright red strawberries that are large and sweet.

Early research results quickly showed that Lumina consistently provides high yields of large, sweet, boldly colored and glossy strawberries that were marketable in the earliest part of the Mid-Atlantic strawberry season. They’re also relatively resistant to foliar diseases present in the field leading to low rot at harvest, as well as during postharvest storage.Anthracnose fruit rot routinely destroys a high percentage of strawberries grown during the traditional season and can even occur during cold storage. The plant disease favors hot, humid, rainy weather, but Lumina is unique in that there has been little to no evidence of anthracnose affecting the cultivar.

“No fumigation or fungicides were used on Lumina in the field,” USDA-ARS Research Plant Geneticist Kim Lewers said in a news release. “This is remarkable. Our research shows that after two weeks in post-harvest storage, Lumina fruits were 24% more marketable than its early-season predecessor.”

Lumina is expected to be adapted to the Mid-Atlantic region and those with a similar climate. The strawberry’s excellent shelf life is just an added benefit to the taste, which has been described as sweet with a notable creamy texture, according to the release.

While most Mid-Atlantic strawberries yield fruit in mid to late May, Lumina debuts earlier in the season and provides berries in late April to early May. The cultivar was approved for release in 2023 and will soon be patented. Distribution during the life of the patent is limited to requestors licensed to propagate. Licensing information can be obtained through the USDA-ARS Office of Technology Transfer.

Photo courtesy of the USDA-ARS.

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