7

I read about cherries, and each cultivar is associated to a mark like S1S4, S3S6 - or similar.

I understand this is something related to genes, but could not find a comprehensive explanation on this topic.

I though do find explanations like this:

The fertility in sweet cherry is determined by a gametophytic self-incompatibility system, controlled by a multi-allelic S-locus who prevents self-pollination.

However, I have the hardest time figuring out the meaning of such sentences. :(

What do those marks mean? What is the practical value of that information to gardeners? How do I explain them to my neighbor? (I certainly would not like to tell him: "Your cherry's multi-allelic S-locus controls its gametophytic system".)

10

S1S4, S3S6 and others are Pollen Groups for Cherries. Only some species of Cherry tree are capable of pollinating themselves (such trees are referred to as self-fruiting, or self-pollinating). However many are not, and because Cherry trees are produced by grafting, other trees of the same variety are, genetically speaking, the same plant. If 2 Cherry trees have the same S-types they are not a compatible breeding pair and will need an alternate pollen source to make fruit. So if you are looking for cherries you either need a tree that is Self-Fruiting, or at least 2 trees in different pollen groups.

Source: https://anfic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ANFIC-Sweet-Cherry-Pollination-Table-06072020.pdf Pollen Group Chart

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