Luther Burbank

Botanist / Inventor

Born: 7 March 1849
Died: 11 April 1926 (Natural causes)
Birthplace: Lancaster, Massachusetts
Best known as: Creator of the Burbank potato
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.
Extra credit: The California city of Burbank is not named for Luther Burbank. Rather it is named for Los Angeles dentist David Burbank... Another famous botanist of Luther Burbank's era was peanut genius George Washington Carver.

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