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Inventors Luther Burbank
By Mary Bellis
Luther Burbank was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts on March 7, 1849. Despite receiving only an elementary education, 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.

His Burbank potato was introduced in Ireland to combat the blight epidemic. Burbank sold the rights to the potato for $150, enough to travel to Santa Rosa, California. There he established a nursery, greenhouse, and experimental farm that have become famous throughout the world.

Plants were not patentable until 1930. Consequently, Burbank received his plant patents posthumously. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1986. In California, his birthday is celebrated as Arbor Day and trees are planted in his memory. Had Burbank lived fifty years earlier, there can be small doubt that he would universally be regarded as the father of American horticulture.

Luther Burbank
Luther Burbank built the Burbank potato which is the precursor to the Idaho potato. - Invention Dimension.

Luther Burbank - Plant Patents
Agricultural patents on different types of potatoes, peaches, "Idaho" potato - National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Potato History
Seeking to improve the "Irish potato", the self-taught and brilliant American horticulturist Luther Burbank took the first step. Growing twenty-three seedlings from an Early Rose parent, he discovered that one seedling produced two to three times more tubers of better size than any other potato variety he had yet grown. After testing this new variety, Burbank marketed the seedling he called the Burbank to the West Coast states in the late 1800's.

Related Inventors
George Washington Carver

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[Images courtesy of Rick Hall, About Nutrition Guide].

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