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an agronomic discipline that studies varieties of fruit and berry plants in order to select the best varieties for cultivation in various regions. Pomologists are involved in the constant improvement of certain varieties and of the varietal composition of orchards. Pomology is concerned with the rational use of particular varieties in fruit growing.
The basis of pomology was laid by the Russian scientist and writer A. T. Bolotov, who at the end of the 18th century wrote the first pomological work in the history of fruit growing, the eight-volume Representations and Descriptions of Various Breeds of Apples and Pears Developed in Dvoreninovo and, to Some Extent, in Other Orchards: Illustrated and Written by Andrei Bolotov in Dvoreninovo From 1797 Through 1801. In Western Europe, pomology developed in a descriptive direction in the works of the French and German pomologists. In Russia, V. V. Pashkevich, M. V. Rytov, L. P. Simirenko, and S. S. Rogozin developed pomology as a multifaceted study of varieties under different soil, climatic, and economic conditions.
Of fundamental importance to the development of pomology in the USSR was I. V. Michurin, who believed that fruit varieties should be subjected to continuous and endless improvement. In the USSR, pomology is regarded as a branch of selective breeding. (Previously, selection was considered to be an aspect of pomology.) The American pomologist W. P. Hendrick and the German scientist K. Koch regard pomology as the part of botany specializing in the study of botanical methods for raising varieties of fruit. The principal task of pomology in the USSR is to study the biology and the productivity of fruit and berry varieties in various regions.
Varieties are evaluated under natural and experimental conditions. Their winter-hardiness and their resistance to drought, heat, and wind are determined. The varieties are evaluated for yield and for rapidity of fruiting; disease and pest resistance is also determined. The degree of self-fertility, the best pollinators, and the quality of fruit are also established. In addition, pomology is concerned with the discovery, study, and economic evaluation of local varieties developed by breeders; the introduction of varieties from foreign countries; and the regionalization of varieties on the basis of regional study.
Regional pomological study is conducted in three forms. Primary, or stationary, varietal study is carried out at the pomological orchards of scientific institutions and involves large plantations of varieties. State varietal experimentation is conducted on special plots at sovkhozes and kolkhozes. The USSR has more than 200 of these plots, where promising varieties that, as a rule, have already undergone primary study are raised. Varietal experimentation to evaluate productivity is organized at kolkhozes and sovkhozes. Here the varieties that have been proved most promising in primary study and state varietal experimentation are studied further.
As a result of regional study, the best varieties suitable for large plantations are selected for each locality. After the comprehensive study of a variety, a pomological description is compiled. A variety’s productivity is described, and its biological and morphological characteristics are explained. Those characteristics that distinguish the variety from other varieties are also indicated.
One of the most important tasks of pomology is the classification of varieties. The best classification has an ecological and geographic basis: varieties are divided into groups according to the location of their breeding. For example, in the USSR apples are classified in 18 varietal groups (Transcaucasian, Moldavian, Ukrainian, Middle Russian, Baltic, Ural, Siberian, Uzbek, etc.). Within each ecological-geographic group, the varieties are divided into subgroups according to the maturation period—summer, autumn, or winter. In addition, certain varietal types, that is, groups of varieties that are closely related to one another in origin and in a number of biological features, are distinguished.
Large pomological orchards for the extensive study of fruit and berry varieties have been established at a number of institutions, including the I. V. Michurin All-Union Research Fruit Growing Institute (Michurinsk), the Scientific Research Institute for Horticulture of the Nonchernozem Zone (Biriulevo, outside Moscow), the Moldavian Scientific Research Institute for Horticulture, Viticulture, and Wine-making (Kishinev), and the R. R. Shreder Scientific Research Institute of Fruit Raising (Tashkent).
REFERENCESPashkevich, V. V. Obshchaia pomologiia, ili uchenie o sotakh plodovykh derev’ev. Leningrad-Moscow, 1930.
Rytov, M. V. Izbr. trudy. Moscow, 1956.
Simirenko, L. P. Pomologiia, vols. 1–3. Kiev, 1961–63.
V. K. ZAETS