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Luther Burbank's Experimental Farm in Sebastopol, CA.

Updated on September 17, 2012

Luther Burbank was perhaps one of the most celebrated men of the 19th and 20th Century for plant experimentation and creating new hybrids. He, alone, created more than 800 new an useful varieties of plants.

Luther arrived in the Santa Rosa area in 1884, he was already well known, but found the area around Santa Rosa, California, an ideal climate for plants. He bought a small plot in the town and began experimenting with plants but needed more acreage. Sebastopol, some 12 miles west, home to numerous types of Gravenstein apples, was it. He bought 10 acres in 1885, which is now 7777 Bodega Ave.

It was there over the course of the next 25+ years, he created the Burbank potato, 113 Plums, 10 Apples, 16 Blackberries, 13 Raspberries, 10 Strawberries, 10 Cherries, 5 Nectarines, 3 Walnuts, 9 types of grasses, 26 varieties of vegetables and 91 various ornamental plants (including the Shasta Daisy).

He created the Paradox Walnut tree that was fully mature at 15 years and ready for lumber yards. He created the White Seedless grape and a white blackberry called, Snowbank. He created thornless blackberries (thank god!). Not all were a success, he tried to create a citrus orange-like tree that could survive -15 degrees. It did survive but the fruit were hard, gold ball size and not juicy. He created the Black Locust, Catalina cherries and many others.


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