Plant Patent #17118, 2006.
‘Galactica’ was selected at Jackson Springs, NC in 1998 by D.J. Werner and L. Snelling. It originated from the 1995 cross of North Carolina breeding selection NCN-4 x ‘Hangchow’. NCN-4 originated from a 1987 cross of ‘Contender’ peach x ‘Fantasia’ nectarine. ‘Hangchow’ is a low acid, white flesh “saucer” (flat shape) peach. It was derived as a seedling selection from a Chinese saucer peach of unknown origin. ‘Fantasia’ is a high quality, yellow flesh, freestone nectarine released by the USDA-ARS in Fresno, CA in 1974. ‘Fantasia’ was chosen as a parent based on its high quality fruit, bright red skin color, and high fruit firmness. ‘Contender’ is a high quality, cold-hardy peach released by the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service in 1987. Seedling progeny from these crosses were grown out and evaluated at the Sandhills Research Station, Jackson Springs, NC. ‘Galactica’ was tested for 5 years in advanced trials at the Sandhills Research Station in Jackson Springs, NC.
‘Galactica’ ripens about July 2, about 2-3 weeks before ‘Contender’. ‘Galactica’ blooms about 1 week before ‘Contender’; the chilling requirement to satisfy flower bud endodormancy is about 800 hours below 4C. Although ‘Galactica’ flowers earlier than many commercial peach cultivars, it has cropped well 5 of the 6 years of evaluation. A grower trial in the mountains of North Carolina has also confirmed its consistent cropping ability.
Fruit of ‘Galactica’ are very large, with many fruit commonly attaining three inches in diameter when properly thinned. Because of its moderate to high flower bud number, heavy thinning is required in years of little natural fruit thinning from freeze events. Fruit demonstrate the flat (peento) shape (Figures 1 and 2).
‘Galactica’ fruit are white fleshed and have moderate flesh acidity, lower than typical commercial peach cultivars. Flesh color and quality (texture, flavor, and aroma) are excellent. Fruit are firmer than most white fleshed peach cultivars, similar to ‘China Pearl’. About 80% of the fruit exterior is covered with a bright red overcolor. Foliage of ‘Galactica’ is relatively susceptible to bacterial spot disease incited by Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni. Control measures may be necessary under conditions favorable for disease development.
Trees of ‘Galactica’ show a growth rate and form typical of most commercial cultivars. Flowers are pink and showy. Pollen is abundant, and trees are self-fertile. Leaf glands are reniform.
In summary, ‘Galactica’ will provide growers with a consistent cropping, early to mid-season ripening cultivar with a novel flat fruit shape and excellent flesh quality . Its novel fruit shape, white flesh, and moderate fruit acidity should provide growers with opportunities for marketing ‘Galactica’ fruit as a specialty crop, particularly to Asian and Hispanic consumers. Currently, almost all “saucer” peaches are commercially grown in California. They command a premium price in supermarkets and specialty produce stores. Few “saucer” peaches are grown in the southeast due to lack of an adapted cultivar. The apparent cold hardiness and high flower bud density of ‘Galactica’ should make it an appropriate choice for peach growers in North Carolina. ‘Galactica’ will also be valuable for commercial production in other peach growing regions of the U.S. that receive sufficiently cool winter temperatures to satisfy bud endodormancy.
‘Galactica’ is one of the few commercial cultivars of peach that was derived in part from germplasm outside of the ‘Chinese Cling’ genetic base. Thus, this cultivar will serve to broaden the genetic base of commercial peach production in the U.S., and it will serve as an important source of germplasm for breeders elsewhere.
The name ‘Galactica’ is suggested for this selection because of its novel fruit shape.
The North Carolina Agricultural Research Service is planning to negotiate a non-exclusive license agreement for production and marketing of ‘Galactica’. Nurserymen having an interest in ‘Galactica’ will be given the opportunity to be licensed by the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service for production and marketing.
Evaluations are based on a 1-8 scale (6=OK,7=Commercially acceptable, 8=Excellent)
Size is in inches
Shape: round is assumed, T=tip, P=point, S=suture, OB=oblate, OV=ovate
Freeness: 3=early cling, 8=completely free
Status: 0=discard, 1=keep
Notes: SOS=soft on suture, SOT=soft on tip, RIF=red in flesh, GAS=green around stem
RAP=red around pit, GGC=green ground color, sz=size, wh=white, yt=young tree, CCT=concave tip
Bloom date is when approx. 90% of blooms are open (full bloom)
The description of each variety of peach or nectarine fruit under each group is in different formats as this information is collected from varied sources and hence is not consistent