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Luther Burbank

Image of Luther BurbankLuther Burbank was an American botanist, horticulturist and a pioneer in agricultural science. Luther Burbank was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, and received only an elementary education. At age 21 he purchased a 17-acre tract near Lunenberg, Massachusetts, and thus began his 55-year plant breeding career.

Burbank was born on March 7, 1849. In California his birthday is celebrated as Arbor Day and trees are planted in his memory.

Burbank's greenhouse is now open to the public as a city park, as Luther Burbank Home and Gardens. The Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, in downtown Santa Rosa, are now designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Later he purchased an 18-acre plot of land in the nearby town of Sebastopol for more experimental growing called Gold Ridge Farm. Luther Burbank's Gold Ridge Experiment Farm is listed in the National Register of Historic Places a few miles west of Santa Rosa in the town of Sebastopol, California.

Luther Burbank's Achievements

  • Burbank developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants, including 113 varieties of plums and prunes, 10 varieties of berries, 50 varieties of lilies, and the Freestone peach. Burbank developed fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables.
  • The Russet Burbank potato is the most widely cultivated potato in the United States.
  • Burbank developed a spineless cactus (useful for cattle-feed) and the plumcot. Among the flowers include, include the Shasta daisy, the Fire poppy, the July Elberta peach, the Santa Rosa plum, the Flaming Gold nectarine, the Burbank plum, the Freestone peach, the Burbank potato, and the white blackberry.
  • In Santa Rosa, Burbank purchased a 4-acre plot of land, and established a greenhouse, nursery, and experimental fields that he used to conduct crossbreeding experiments on plants.

His Books

In mid-March 1926, Burbank suffered a heart attack and became ill with gastrointestinal complications. He died on April 11, 1926, aged 77, and is buried near the greenhouse at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens.

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