Luther Burbank


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Burbank, Luther

 

Born July 3, 1849, in Lancaster, Massachusetts; died Nov. 4, 1926, in Santa Rosa, California. American selectionist and Darwinist; self-taught scientist who developed many new varieties of fruit, vegetable, field, and ornamental crops.

Burbank was born into the family of a farmer. He established a fruit and ornamental nursery in Santa Rosa in 1875 and later, in nearby Sebastopol. He worked there until his death. From seeds obtained from free pollination and intervarietal, interspecific, and intergeneric hybridization, Burbank developed a stoneless plum, a plumcot (a cross between the plum and the apricot), a thornless cactus that provides delicious fruits and valuable cattle fodder, an edible dwarf chestnut that bears fruit in its second year, a walnut with a paper-thin shell, a quince with a pineapple odor, a white blackberry, a thornless blackberry, a sweet onion with bulbs weighing more than 1 kg, a fragrant dahlia, a blue poppy, and a species of Amaryllis with flowers as large as 30 cm in diameter. Burbank achieved his greatest successes in work with plums, developing 113 varieties of this crop. The best of these are the Santa Rosa, Wickson, Burbank, America, Beauty, Black Sugar, Climax, Duarte, and Shiro plums. Many of these plums are cultivated in Argentina, North Africa, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as in the USA.

Leading scientists recognized Burbank as a talented representative of creative Darwinism. K. A. Timeriazev called him a “miracle worker” and ranked him among the top scientists and selectionists. I. V. Michurin regarded his California colleague highly and described him as “not a copier nor an epigone, but one who worked according to his own original methods of improvement.. .. His single profound study of the laws of plant life enabled him to improve and increase the varieties of fruit plants” (Soch., vol. 4, 1948, p. 422).

Since he received no support from the government, Burbank was in constant need of funds and was unable to apply his talents fully. His work was not adequately pursued in America. Many varieties developed by Burbank have been lost or forgotten.

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Izbr. soch. Moscow, 1955.

REFERENCES

Timiriazev, K. A. “Dva dara nauki.” Soch., vol. 9. Moscow, 1939.
Garvud, A. Obnovlennaia zemlia, ν sokrashch. Izlozhenii K. A. Timiriazeva. Moscow, 1919.
References in periodicals archive ?
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But that's precisely the story of Luther Burbank (1849-1926), "the Wizard of Santa Rosa," as he was styled in countless magazine articles.
Perhaps the most prolific American plant breeder was Luther Burbank (see box).
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When the principal at Luther Burbank High School demanded that students remove the pro-gay stickers Andrea Adame had passed out to support the National Day of Silence, "kids just came back to me for more stickers," Adame says.
He is a trustee of the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and University of California Foundation, a Chairman Emeritus of the California State Park Foundation and co-founder of the Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center in Santa Rosa.
In All Over Creation, we discover that Luther Burbank stumbled upon a rare potato seed ball in his garden.
Jack London, a socialist dockworker from Oakland who reigned as one of the early 20th century's most popular authors, was such a fan of Luther Burbank that he often collaborated with him on various plant-breeding projects, creating, for instance, a spineless cactus used for feeding cattle during droughts.
Messages from Luther Burbank and other nationally known figures will be incorporated into the work of the 'school.
Joining Schulz's family at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts were fans, cartoonists, United Media executives, members of Congress, and others.
The Burbank potato had its origin this year when Luther Burbank found an Early Rose potato plant that had produced a seed ball, a rare event for that type of potato.
Goethe Middle School, and in the Fall of 1989, it will buy hardware for Luther Burbank High School.