Vito S. Polito



Professor Emeritus of Plant Sciences

Department of Plant Sciences
University of California
CA 95616 USA

Teaching   Research
Recent Publications







My research program focuses on reproductive biology of tree-crop species, especially almond, olive, pistachio and walnut. My colleagues and I are currently working to document genetic diversity in olive cultivars and wild germplasm, olive compatibility relationships, and the reproductive and pollination biology of Mediterranean-climate, pomologial species.


Cuevas, J, V. Pinillos, V.S. Polito. 2009. Effective pollination period for 'Manzanillo' and 'Picual' olive trees. J. Horticultural Science and Biotechnology. 84: 370-374. (download reprint 416kB pdf)

Koehmstedt, A., M. K. Aradhya, D. Soleri, J. Smith, V. Polito. 2010. Molecular characterization of genetic diversity, structure, and differentiation in the olive (Olea europaea L.) germplasm collection of the United States Department of Agriculture. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. download reprint 384kB pdf)

Soleri, D., A. Koehmstedt, M. K. Aradhya, V. Polito, K. Pinney. 2010. Comparing the historic olive trees (Olea europaea L.) of Santa Cruz Island with contemporaneous trees in the Santa Barbara, CA area: a case study of diversity and structure in an introduced agricultural species conserved in situ. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. 57:973-984. download reprint 330kB pdf)

Decault, M. and Polito, V. 2010. High Temperatures during Bloom Can Inhibit Pollen Germination and Tube Growth, and Adversely Affect Fruit Set in the Prunus domestica Cultvars ‘Improved French’ and ‘Muir Beauty’. Acta Horticulturae 874:163-168. download reprint 1.14MB pdf)

Cuevas, J, V. Pinillos, V.S. Polito. 2009. Effective pollination period for 'Manzanillo' and 'Picual' olive trees. J. Hortic. Sci. Biotech. 84: 370-374. (download reprint 416kB pdf)

Gratton, S.R., M.J. Berenguer, J.H. Connell, V.S. Polito, P.M. Vossen. 2006. Olive oil production as influenced by differnt quantities of applied water. Agric. Water Management 85: 133-140. (download reprint 248kB pdf)

Berenguer, M.J., P.M. Vossen, S.R. Grattan, J.H. Connell, and V.S. Polito. 2006. Tree irrigation levels for optimum chemical and sensory properties of olive oil. HortScience 41: 427-432. (download reprint 238kB pdf)

Cuevas, J. and V.S. Polito. 2004. The Role of Staminate Flowers in the Breeding System of Olea europaea (Oleaceae): an Andromonoecious, Wind-pollinated Taxon. Annals of Botany 93: 547-553. (download reprint)

Escobar, M.A., E.L. Civerolo, V.S. Polito, K.A. Pinney, A.M. Dandekar. 2003. Characterization of oncogene-silenced transgenic plants: Implications for Agrobacterium biology and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Molecular Plant Pathology 4:57-65. (download reprint 372kB pdf)

Polito, V.S., K. Pinney, R. Buchner, and W. Olson. 2002. Streptomycin applications to control walnut blight disease can prevent fertilization and increase fruit drop. HortScience 37:940-942. (download reprint 86kB pdf)

Polito, V.S. 2002. The shoot apex in transition: Time-lapse, video simulation of floral morphogenesis in almond (Prunus dulcis) buds. XXVI International Horticulture Congress.

Polito, V.S., K. Pinney, R. Heerema, S. Weinbaum. 2002. Flower differentiation and spur leaf area in almond. J. Hortic. Sci. Biotechnol. 77:474-478. (download reprint 340kB pdf)

Polito, V.S., K.D. Larson, K. Pinney. 2002. Anatomical and histochemical factors associated with bronzing development in strawberry fruit. J. Amer. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 127:355-357 (download reprint 79kB pdf)

Lamp, B., J.A. Connell, R. Duncan, M. Viveros, V.S. Polito. 2001. Almond flower development: Floral initiation and organogenesis. J. Amer. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 126:689-696 (download reprint 172kB pdf)

Cuevas, J., A.J. Díaz-Hermoso, D. Galián, J.J. Hueso, V. Pinillos, M. Prieto, D. Sola & V.S. Polito. 2001. Response to cross pollination and choice of pollinisers for the olive cultivars (Olea europaea L.) 'Manzanilla de Sevilla,' `Hojiblanca' and 'Picual.' Olivae 85:26-32.

Escobar, M. A., Park, J.-I., Polito, V.S., Leslie, C.A., Uratsu, S.A. McGranahan, G.H, Dandekar, A.M. 2000. Using GFP as a scorable marker in walnut somatic embryo transformation. Ann. Bot. 85: 831-835. (download reprint 370kB pdf)

Polito, V.S. and K. Pinney. 1999. Endocarp dehiscence in pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) Internat. J. Plant Sci. 160:827-835. (download reprint 1.7MB pdf)

Polito, V.S. 1999. Seedlessness and parthenocarpy in Pistacia vera L. (Anacardiaceae): Temporal changes in patterns of vascular transport to ovules. Ann. Bot. 83:363-368. (download reprint 240kB pdf)

Fabbri, A., L. Ferguson, V.S. Polito. 1998. Crop load related deformity of developing Pistacia vera cv 'Kerman' nuts. Scientia Horticulturae 77:219-234. (download reprint 2.2MB pdf)

Cuevas, J. and V.S. Polito. 1997. Compatibility relationships in 'Manzanillo' olive. HortScience 32: 1056-1058.

Polito, V.S. and K. Pinney. 1997. The relationship between phenology of pistillate flower organogenesis and mode of heterodichogamy in Juglans regia L. (Juglandaceae). Sexual Plant Reproduction 10:36-39. (Download reprint 620kB pdf)

Hormaza, J. I. and V.S. Polito. 1996. Pistillate and staminate flower development in dioecious Pistacia vera (Pistachio, Anacardiaceae). Amer. J. Bot 83: 759-766. (Download reprint 2.1MB pdf)

Hormaza, J. I., L. Dollo and V.S. Polito. 1994. Determination of relatedness and geographical movements of Pistacia vera L. (Pistachio; Anacardiaceae) germplasm by RAPD analysis. Economic Botany 48:349-358.

Hormaza, J. I., L. Dollo and V.S. Polito. 1994. Identification of a RAPD marker linked to sex determination in Pistacia vera using bulked segregant analysis. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 89:9-13.

Olive Andromonoecy

Almond Spurs


Walnut GFP Expression

Pistachio Endocarp Dehiscence

Pistachio Ovule

Supplemental Olive Pollination

Pistachio Sex Determination

Walnut Heterodichogamy

Pistachio Pistillate Flower Development

Movement of Pistachio Germplasm






Graduate Groups