Luther Burbank was an American botanist, horticulturist and a pioneer in agricultural science.
He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career. Burbank’s varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables. He developed a spineless cactus (useful for cattle-feed) and the plumcot.
Luther Burbank is widely regarded as the father of modern plant breeding. Beginning in 1870, Luther Burbank developed more than 800 new strains of fruits, vegetables, flowers and grasses; his ideas in general, and many of his hybrids in particular, were important to the revolution in agriculture and food production in the 20th century. One of his earliest creations was the Burbank potato, a blight-resistant crop which was heavily planted in Ireland. Luther Burbank began his career in Massachusetts but spent most of his working life in Santa Rosa, California, where his home is now a National Historic Landmark.
Burbank’s most successful strains and varieties include the Shasta daisy, the Fire poppy, the July Elberta peach, the Santa Rosa plum, the Flaming Gold nectarine, the Wickson plum, the Freestone peach, and the white blackberry. A natural genetic variant of the Burbank potato with russet-colored skin later became known as the Russet Burbank potato. This large, brown-skinned, white-fleshed potato has become the world’s predominant potato in food processing.