As I wrote in first post on nötjakten in Medelpad we had the really came into the Västernorrland to check the status of the various Loiko-walnut trees, which is considered the hardiest trees of real walnut (Juglans regia) in the world. In the end, we looked only at Ove Johansson's two trees, but we learned a lot more about the background to how these trees ended up in Sweden, something I've long been curious. Ove shared generously of all documentation regarding the purchase of the trees and the correspondence between him and the Belarusian breeder Romuald Loiko. Ove had found out that there was a breeding program for walnuts through a travel journal published by the American vinentusiasterna Tom Plocher and Bob Parke. They had visited the Baltic countries 1998 and including reported Dr.. Loiko grow over 300 different kinds of wine in their experimental crops at the Belarusian Institute for fruit growing. In passing they mention that the same Dr. Loiko also doing processing of walnuts.
Ove got in touch with Loiko in the early 2000s and began to order 100 seedlings of real walnut. Then he wanted to order the vine, but the deal fell through, then Loiko died spring 2004, 67 years old. Subsequent attempts to connect with the Belarusian Institute where Loiko worked remained without success.
Of the e-mails that Loiko wrote to Ove seen that the trees were processed for both resistance and early fruit set. The plants came to Sweden in the early spring 2003 and was then barely a year old. From their appearance made it a gradation of plants, which is of course extremely difficult to decide in such young trees, where No. 1 had the most promising capabilities and No. 100 was the least interesting tree. Loiko No. 1 and the tree whose numbers Ove not remember ended in his garden. The rest was distributed among friends and acquaintances, and many donated to municipalities, park administrations and even Uppsala Botanical Garden received three copies (No. 2, No. 63 and No. 80). Most surviving trees are around Ornskoldsvik, Sundsvall and Kramfors, one on Gotland, another at Ove's son Louis in Singapore and two (No. 63 and No. 80) remains in Uppsala Botanical Garden.
Several trees have already begun to produce fruit, the northernmost of them are in Örnsköldsvik (No. 54). Loiko No. 1 is the most productive time position in the tree, but also No. 63 have produced some nuts. Both of these trees are propagated by Lars Westergaard using grafting and has been on the market a few years now. A clone of No. 63 we planted in the garden Diversity in Stjärnsund this summer and it will be exciting to follow its development. We have asked Ove sending scions from as many trees as possible to Lars Westergaard, so that he can continue processing the work on a broad basis.
And of Belarusian Institute for fruit growing? There are actually there and I have started to pull the little threads to make contact with them in the hope to import some of the many exciting plants they have developed where. More about this will hopefully in the winter!