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5. Haricot Blanc

                                         White Alubia beans (similar to Canellinis)






 is an early maturing stiff erect determinate Alubia bean of high yield potential. It is bred from ((Coquette X Survival F4) X Horsehead).

This market class of Alubia beans has barrel shaped or straight-sided seeds rather than kidney form and a plump shape rather than the flattened form of the Great Northern beans. Alubias have not traditionally been produced in the U.S.A. but are being developed following the success of the marketing Alubias to Europe from Argentina. Years ago when working in France I saw the opportunity to develop early maturing upright cultivars for Northern European conditions and suitable in the same markets. Alubias are imported into France on a very large scale. The Alubias are rather similar to the Italian Canellinis, which however have longer seed and usually thicker skins.

MONTBLANC is a retained selection from a handful of four or five rather similar advanced selections purified by myself by 1988. Whiteknight was a close sister line, which could barely be distinguished from Montblanc so I merged these. Montblanc is very substantially earlier in maturity than a new Alubias developed in Michigan State University with which it was compared in trial in Girton in 1998.

Alubias are very widely used in France as 'Haricot blanc sec' or white dry beans being greatly preferred by French cooks and processors over the navy pea beans used for British baked beans. They are a softer seeded (when cooked) an alternative to Great Northerns but being softer tends to break up more on cooking.



  These flat shaped medium sized white beans are of ancient cultivation in the South Western United States by Hindatsa Indians. They are in most respects other than seed color similar to Pinto and Californian pink beans also from the American South West.. They are extensively grown in the Pan-handle area of Nebraska and are a major item of commerce and much supplied from Nebraska as a contribution to World Food Aid under the Public Law 480 programme. French canning companies adopted Great Northerns as a market standard when commercial canned beans suddenly became a serious supermarket product in France in the 1970's and no suitable French varieties existed. Nebraska adapted varieties tend to be late maturing and long straggling viney plants.

This variety was developed by me by crossing a Great Northern variety Emerson from the University of Nebraska with Horsehead. This was a very 'wide' cross and recovery of the correct combination of GN seed type with a fully determinate plant type was difficult, Generatif is probably still unique in this respect. When the plant matures its pods tend to 'flop' to near the ground and for this reason it is best suited to early harvest by bean 'rodders' and wind-rowing technology rather than leaving the plants until later to mature fully in the field. Hanging up 'early-pulled' plants in the shed or tunnel or greenhouse is a good option for gardeners.

This has a different pedigree altogether, entirely French parents, crossed in the UK (Opal X Rachel). It is been very high yielding in trials and has a seed shape quite similar to Great Northerns but probably, for the discriminating buyer outside the norms of that class. Nevertheless it has an excellent erect determinate plant type and will make a very productive variety for the amateur gardener wanting a good winter supply of attractive dry white beans to use in the kitchen. It can safely be left standing outside until a much later stage of maturity than Generatif without any risk of spoilage by pods being too near the soil. The organoleptic quality of the cooked beans is however not as attractive to my palate as either Montblanc or Generatif.

Bred from the same family as Casa it is rather similar to Casa but its seeds are like small Alubias being much rounder in form. Yield and use would be similar to Casa.

Bred from the same family as Casa (but perhaps from a chance outcross of an early generation heterozygote with pollen from a flageolet vert). It is a very unusually early dwarf with very faintly greenish white seeds and deep purple-mottled pods. It is a most strikingly 'different' variety and is good to eat.



These have medium to large nearly spherical white seeds that are larger than any Navy beans and are really very different in culinary use as well as in appearance. The French, in many regions of that Country of diverse regional specialities have long appreciated these types of beans especially in the Midi (Coco blanc (climbing and Coco nain blanc (dwarf) subclasses) and in Brittany (Coco paimpolais with red pods) where these now have a controlled appellation.

This variety is on the French catalogue.  Its breeding status is 'Co-obtention' between the French company Griffaton Selection, now GNSemences and myself).

This excellent disease resistant improvement of the Coco nain blanc germplasm bean arose from crosses made at INRA Versailles in the 1960's. Early generation seed of three populations were supplied to me when I was disease resistance breeding in Africa, for use as potential breeding parents. One of these COCO-R No 2, still in substantial segregation was used as a parent to supply the anthracnose resistant gene 'are' to an improved background. I also continued the re-selection of COCO R No2 through many generations of selfing and from this was able to assess Coquette as a new variety while working with Griffaton. I was permitted by the original breeder, Hubert Bannerot, who was responsible for the initial crosses and who supplied me with seed seed to put this new variety into French registration. I carried out all the all the selection work over many generations and Griffaton handled the Registration paper work. Under existing arrangements, I am entitled to maintain and handle the variety in anglophone countries, GNS in Francophone.

This more recently bred early maturing Romano (Green pod vegetable) bean. In addition to its production of superb quality edible pods in great profusion its dry seeds are nearly indistinguishable from those of Coquette and can be similarly used. However, at present, while the use as a Romano is under active development all good quality residual dry beans are retained and recycled as seed. There will come a time when it dual purpose use for dry grain as well as green pods will be very practical.