Denomination: 'Liberty'
Botanical Name: Vaccinium corymbosum
Applicant/Holder: The Board of Trustees of Michigan State University
246 Administration Building
325 E. Grand River Avenue, Suite 350
East Lansing, Michigan
United States of America
Breeder: James F. Hancock, Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States of America
Agent in Canada: Expert Agriculture Team Ltd.
46420 Prairie Central Road
Chilliwack, British Columbia
V2P 6H3
Tel: 604-795-2537
Application Date: 2003-01-23
Application Number: 03-3920
Grant of Rights Date: 2006-10-25
Certificate Number: 2607
Grant of Rights Termination Date: 2024-10-25

Variety Description

Varieties used for comparison: 'Aurora', 'Elliott', 'Darrow' and 'Brigitta'

Summary: 'Liberty' has a more upright vigorous growth habit than 'Elliott' and 'Darrow'. The amount of branching in 'Liberty' is less than 'Brigitta' and 'Aurora'. 'Liberty' has a narrower leaf than 'Elliott'. The shape of the leaf base of 'Liberty' is obtuse while it is acute in 'Aurora' and 'Darrow' and rounded in 'Elliott'. 'Liberty' has weaker pubescence on the mid-vein of the leaf than 'Aurora'. The upper surface leaf colour of 'Liberty' is dark green while it is blue green in 'Aurora' and 'Darrow' and grey green in 'Brigitta'. 'Liberty' has a late to very late timing of bud burst while it is early in 'Brigitta', early to medium in 'Darrow' and medium in 'Elliott'. 'Liberty' flowers later than 'Brigitta'. The flower of 'Liberty' is larger than 'Aurora' and 'Brigitta'. 'Liberty' has a stronger intensity of anthocyanin colouration of the flower petals than 'Aurora'. The number of berries per cluster in 'Liberty' is less than in 'Aurora'. 'Liberty' has a laxer cluster than 'Elliott' and 'Brigitta'. The fruit of 'Liberty' is smaller than 'Darrow'. 'Liberty' has a different fruit shape than 'Elliott' and 'Darrow. The glaucosity of the fruit of 'Liberty' is stronger than 'Aurora', 'Elliott', 'Darrow' and 'Brigitta'. 'Liberty' has a firmer fruit than 'Aurora', 'Elliott' and 'Darrow'. The fruit of 'Liberty' is sweeter than 'Elliott'. 'Liberty' has a more acidic fruit than 'Darrow' and 'Brigitta'. The fruit of 'Liberty' ripens earlier than 'Aurora' and 'Elliott'.


'Liberty' is a tetraploid highbush blueberry variety with an upright to bushy growth habit, strong amount of basal suckering and a medium amount of branching. The stems have absent or very sparse pubescence. The fully developed leaf is medium in width with an obtuse shaped base and absent or very sparse pubescence along the midvein. The upper surface of the leaf is dark green in colour.

The time of bud burst of 'Liberty' is late to very late and the time of flowering is mid to late. 'Liberty' has a medium to large sized flower with weak to medium intensity of anthocyanin colouration of the petals. The fruit cluster is medium in tightness with a medium number of berries. The fruit of 'Liberty' is medium in size with a strongly elliptic shape in longitudinal cross section. The main colour of the unripened fruit is light green. The mature fruit has strong to very strong glaucosity, a very small to small scar and is dark blue in colour after removal of the bloom. The fruit is firm, medium in sweetness with medium to high acidity. The fruit of 'Liberty' ripens mid to late in the season.

Origin & Breeding History: 'Liberty' originated from a controlled cross made in 1991 at Michigan State University. Emasculted flowers of the highbush variety 'Brigitta' from Australia were pollinated with pollen from the northern highbush variety 'Elliott'. The seeds were germniated, grown in a greenhouse for one year and then field planted at Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA. 'Liberty' was selected from a group of 54 siblings in 1997. The original selection has been evaluated at Benton Harbor for 11 years.

Tests & Trials: Test and trials were conducted in Abbotsford, British Columbia during the summers of 2004 and 2005. There were 2 rows of plants 1.5 metres apart with a plant spacing within the row of 0.75 metre.

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