Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 4:46 (article 25) 1981
The Derivatives of 'Fordhook Zucchini' and Their Breeding
Department of Horticulture and Forestry,
Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903
A cultivar by the name Fordhook Zucchini (Cucurbita
pepo L.) was introduced by W. Atlee Burpee Co. in 1942.
According to available information, this cultivar was obtained
from M. Herb of Naples, Italy. As a former plant breeder
for Burpee, I became familiar with this cultivar from the
first year of its introduction. It was unique in its long,
glossy, dark green fruits but highly variable in growth
habit, foliage characteristics, and fruit size and shape.
As a result of painstaking work of selection and inbreeding,
I isolated from this cultivar a uniform line that possessed
a number of useful characteristics including open habit
of growth, spineless foliage, and attractive, cylindrical
fruits. This line was introduced by Burpee in 1947 as 'Fordhook
Zucchini Improved'. However, sometime later the word "Improved"
was deleted from the name of the new cultivar and thus the
name of the old cultivar was restored, although the latter
became extinct in 1947.
In 1964, I completed the substitution of B for B+ in the
background of 'Fordhook Zucchini Improved' (1, 2) and the
resulting breeding line (B/B) is known as 'Precocious
'Fordhook Zucchini Improved' and 'Precocious Fordhook Zucchini'
have become prime sources of breeding material for at least
two reasons. First, they have an exceptionally high combining
ability in the production of F1 hybrids of the Zucchini
group. For example, one of the most important F1 hybrids
of the standard Zucchini group is the cross between
'Caserta', developed by Dr. L. C. Curtis, and 'Fordhook
Zucchini Improved'. Furthermore, 'Precocious Fordhook Zucchini'
is being used for the production of precocious hybrids
such as 'Gold Rush'. Second, 'Fordhook Zucchini Improved'
and 'Precocious Fordhook Zucchini' are being utilized by
plant breeders in different parts of the world as sources
of genes for spineless foliage, a highly desirable characteristic
in summer squash.
- Shifriss, O. 1965. The unpredictable gourds. Amer.
Hort. Mag. 44: 184-201.
- Shifriss, O. 1981. Origin, expression, and significance
of gene B in Cucurbita pepo L. J.
Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 106: 220-232.