Thursday, January 23, 2014

Notes on Jayhawk pecan

    Jayhawk originated as a seedling of Giles planted by Lewis Harris on his farm near Wichita, Kansas.  This seedling cultivar first came to light when entered into the Annual Nut Evaluation of the Kansas Nut Growers Association back in 1989.
    Jayhawk has been under test at the Pecan Experiment Field for several years and we have a pretty good feel for how this cultivar performs. On the plus side, Jayhawk is precocious, productive, scab resistent and produces a medium-sized, thin-shelled nut. This cultivar has a protogynous flowering habit and ripens nuts 10 days after Pawnee and 6 days before its parent, Giles. Jayhawk trees have good tree structure and are easy to train.
    Back in 2011, I noted a single negative trait that seemed bad enough to keep Jayhawk off my top ten list. Jayhawk kernels appeared mottled with darker brown patches giving the nut meats an unappealing appearance. At that time, I blamed the blotchiness on the 2011 drought. So this year, I was curious to see what Jayhawk kernels would look like  following a cool summer with ample rainfall (photo at right). In comparison to 2011, the 2013 Jayhawk kernels had much better color but were still far from perfect. The upper side of the kernel halves had only a few minor brown patches but the underside displayed a mottling pattern that makes the kernel look "dirty". Although the patches of kernel discoloration seem to have zero effect on kernel flavor, it will be hard to convince consumers to place "dirty" looking pecans in their mouth.
   Jayhawk is a great example of a pecan cultivar that looks almost perfect but probably shouldn't be propagated.  A single serious defect (blotchy kernels) is enough for me to discard Jayhawk as a potential recommended cultivar.