American plant breeder, born in Lancaster, Mass. He experimented with thousands of plant varieties and developed many new ones, including new varieties of prunes, plums, raspberries, blackberries, apples, peaches, and nectarines. Besides the Burbank potato, he produced new tomato, corn, squash, pea, and asparagus forms; a spineless cactus useful in cattle feeding; and many new flowers, especially lilies and the famous Shasta daisy. His methods and results are described in his books—How Plants Are Trained to Work for Man (8 vol., 1921) and, with Wilbur Hall, Harvest of the Years (1927) and Partner of Nature (1939)—and in his descriptive catalogs, New Creations. After 1875 his work was done at Santa Rosa, Calif.
See D. S. Jordan and Vernon Kellogg, The Scientific Aspects of Luther Burbank's Work (1909); E. B. Beeson, The Early Life and Letters of Luther Burbank (1927); W. L. Howard, Luther Burbank (1945); Ken Kraft, Luther Burbank (1967).