Prof A K Bhat
Cherry and allied species fall under stone group of genus Prunus mostly grown in temperate regions of globe. In view of geographical location, Kashmir Division has assumed near monopoly in producing and export of this seasonal delicate fruit comprising of assorted cultivars for Indian market. Research work done on this fruit covering different aspects stands published in scattered subject journals, difficult to search by the interested fruit growers. The book “Sweet Cherry “recently published by Prof B L Puttoo, first of its kind is a welcome step in this direction. This book reveals a great reverence for Prof. (Dr.) Yeshwant Laxman Nene to whom the book is dedicated. Book also entails forewords by great luminaries: Prof M S Swaminathan and Prof Pardeep K Sharma vice Chancellor SKUAST (J) and Dr.Y L Nene.
The circumstances that prompted the author to compile the data pertaining to cherry fruit and publish it in book format are explained in the preface of the book. Documenting his vast horticultural knowledge and experience extending to over five decades in a comprehensive manner, received inspiration from his childhood memories dating early fifties of last century. Sweet cherry (Prunus avium) tree groove planted in his parental orchard at Bhagat near Sopore town District Baramulla Kashmir , where author used to consume ripe cherry while sitting on the main scaffold branches after school hours; is fascinating and akin to Ruskin Bond’s inspiration from nature to write books with persistent theme for inspirational writing.
The book has 23 chapters including a chapter of 108 references drawn from all available sources and 20 e-references. Colour photography in the text has added to the quality of printed getup. After introducing the cherry fruit, chapters are devoted to Origin and history, present status of Cherry worldwide, economic importance, nomenclature and botanical description growth habits and tree physiology, orchard planning, propagation techniques, root stocks and cultivars, manuring, fertilisation and irrigation, pollination, harvesting, fruit quality and nutrition stand discussed in detail. Chapters 8 and 9 emphasise on setting and optimization of in vitro culture parameters necessary to develop reliable protocols for a large-scale commercial level as variation among the different rootstock species, as well as optimization of the different culture and media compositions, necessary for implementing successful propagation of Prunus rootstocks. Author has elaborated usage of STG protocols effective for elimination of recalcitrant viruses that were not eliminated by thermotherapy and/or chemotherapy of meristem culture that shall allow the micro grafting of free shoot tips from diseased plants onto a selected rootstock, giving the possibility to produce the non-infected plant. To overcome cracking author has discuused RNA-seq and qPCR analyses on sweet cherry cultivars with different susceptibility to cracking will allow identification differential expression of genes associated with alkene synthesis, suggesting that the expression of these genes may be associated with differential susceptibility to cracking. Chapter 11discusses many cross-incompatible groups and the varieties within a group should not be planted together without a pollinisar as developed elsewhere.
Latest advances made in growing cherry under high density planting (HD) systems in vogue in other countries for higher productivity has received due attention in the text. Economics of growing sweet cherry with improved package of practices with 1:5.7 cost benefit ratio under Kashmir conditions stands worked Occurrences of various insect pests, fungal, bacterial and environmental disorders commonly encountered with cherry together with methods of management have been incorporated.
Problems, constraints and projections in present day cherry growing, recipes and utilization, other bounties from cherry tree have received separate treatment. Importance of ornamental cherry as a seasonal cherry bloom festival prevelent in other countries and lately followed by Arunachal Pradesh during autumn season as a major tourist attraction for Himalayan states like J&K,HP and Uttrakhand has been stressed. Usage and importance of other minor cherry fruits of commerce grown in other tropical areas have been highlighted.
Book elucidates the deep impact of Cherry on the cultural heritage in many cherry growing countries especially of Kashmir that is evident from the following Kashmiri lullaby”Loli Chhay lalwan poph tay maas, Wanwan drayi moj yemberzal Mam lal iye tay diyiyo Dilaas, Paartho Gilaas kulinay tal” which is translated as “Come darling let me dress you up under the shade of a Cherry tree. Your father’s sister and your mother’s sister are offering their laps to hold you my tiny darling. Your mother sings for your long life. Your mama (Maternal uncle) is coming to put courage in your tiny soul”
Thumbing through the pages simply to look at the lucidly illustrated drawings and photographs is eye catching. This book will appeal to students of fruit science to aid their theoretical and research knowledge. Orchardists will also find this book productive. The book is duly recommended for all libraries of State Agricultural Universities (SAU’S), Research Institutes, KVK’s and Biosciences departments of other Universities.
Prof A K Bhat