Luther Burbank & Potato HistoryWanting to improve the common Irish potato, Luther Burbank grew and observed twenty-three potato seedlings from an Early Rose parent. One seedling produced two to three times more tubers of a larger size than any other. His potato was introduced in Ireland to combat the blight epidemic. Burbank cultivated the strain and marketed the Burbank (named after the inventor) potato to farmers in the U.S. in 1871. It was later nicknamed the Idaho potato.
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.
Famous Fruits & VeggiesBesides the famed Idaho potato, Luther Burbank was also behind the cultivation of: the Shasta daisy, the July Elberta peach, the Santa Rosa plum, the Flaming Gold nectarine, Royal walnuts, Rutland plumcots, Robusta strawberries, Elephant garlic, and many more delectables.
Plant PatentsNew plants were not considered a patentable invention until 1930. Consequently, Luther Burbank received his plant patents posthumously. Luther Burbank's own book, "How Plants Are Treated to Work for Man" written in 1921 influenced the establishment of the Plant Patent Act of 1930.
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 was granted Plant Patent #12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 41, 65, 66, 235, 266, 267, 269, 290, 291, and 1041.