Burbank, the Plant Wizard, Santa Rosa, Cal.

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
In 1849 in Lancaster, Mass., Luther Burbank was born. He was not a husky lad, so he could not "follow the sea" as so many New England boys of his day decided to do. He stayed at home instead and tilled a rocky farm. He early showed a real insight into pant life. He felt that farmers did not understand the first principles of dealing scientifically with plants. One of his first attempts to improve farming methods was in raising corn. The earlier that cooking corn or "roasting ears" are put on the market, the better the price. Burbank sprouted hi seeds early in leaf mold. His corn came up in a few hours. He forced its growth, and amazed everybody by marketing corn weeks ahead of other farmers. His next adventure was with potatoes. For four years he experimented with varieties of potatoes until he had a kind that was big, smooth, and large producers. Burbank's potatoes were soon known from coast to coast. They are still one of our popular varieties. From his potatoes he secured money enough to go to southern California. Here he has since worked. By crossing different varieties he was able to produce newer and better ones. He has developed the white blackberry, the ever-bearing rhubarb, the crimson poppy, and the stoneless plum. One of his most widely known plants is the spineless cactus. Cacti grow wild over the half desert country of the southwest, where there is not moisture enough to support grass. Animals like the flavor of the plant, but could not eat it because of the sharp spines on the leaves. Burbank experimented till he produced a variety without spines. Now great stretches of land that were once useless will produce rich pastures. Keystone ID: 16746 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.