“Zenith”: A New Black Bean Variety for Michigan (E3248)
New upright full-season black bean variety suited for direct harvest. Highest yielding black bean variety in five years of testing. Matures in 100 days, similar to ‘Zorro’. Exhibits uniform maturity coupled with good dry down similar to ‘Zorro’.
‘ZENITH’ is a new erect, high-yielding black bean variety from Michigan State University (MSU) that has out-yielded all current black bean varieties. This full-season maturing variety has an upright, short vine growth habit. The upright narrow plant profile, combined with resistance to lodging, makes ‘Zenith’ suitable for direct harvest under narrow row production systems. ‘Zenith’ is resistant to race 73 of anthracnose to which most current black bean varieties are susceptible. ‘Zenith’ is equivalent to ‘Zorro’ in tolerance to white mold and is resistant to strains of bean rust and bean common mosaic virus (BCMV) present in Michigan. The seed of this variety is similar in size to that of ‘Zorro’, yet it possesses unique canning properties. Following canning, ‘Zenith’ retains the black color better than current black bean varieties such as ‘Eclipse’ that tend to bleed and produce a less desirable chocolate-brown canned product.