The Alf Christianson Seed Co. and Sakata Seed America Inc. will merge, effective immediately, and the newly formed entity will retain the Sakata Seed America name.

The Japanese parent company, Sakata Seed Corp., had acquired the Burlington, Wash.-based Alf Christianson in 2002 and operated it as a subsidiary of the Morgan Hill, Calif.-based Sakata America Holding Co., according to a news release.

Alf Christianson specialized in breeding table beets, spinach and chard, which were marketed under the Chriseed brand.

Sakata plans to retain a "significant presence" in the Pacific Northwest, according to the release.