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Another Set of Promising New Fruits

Another Set of Promising New Fruits

from the Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture 1902 and 1908

Another Set of Promising New Fruits
Plate XLVI


The original bush of this very promising new raspberry appears to have been found by Mr. Ulysses Eaton at Cambridge City, Indiana, as a chance seedling in his berry field in 1885. He propagated this and planted it for his local market. In 1898 accounts of the large size and fine quality of its fruit reached Mr. Amos Garretson, who visited the discoverer and, being impressed with the value of the variety, secured some plants of it from Mr. Eaton for testing at his home at Pendleton, Indiana. These succeeded so well that in 1900 he purchased from Mr. Eaton the right to introduce the variety. Not being a nurseryman, he later arranged with Flansburgh & Pierson (later Flansburgh & Potter), of Leslie, Michigan, to commercially introduce it, which they did in 1902.

Fruit of it was exhibited by Mr. Garretson at the Pan- American Exposition at Buffalo in 1901, where it was awarded a bronze medal, and at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904, where Mr. Garretson made six successive shipments a week apart, two in June and four in July, to demonstrate its long ripening season. He states that he has had ripe berries of it as early as June 20 and fruit from the same hills August 10, indicating a length of season very desirable in a variety for home use and for some markets.

Description: Roundish to roundish conical; large to very large, with a rather irregular undulating surface; drupelets broadly grooved and glossy; color clear, bright, durable crimson; pedicel slender, studded with prickles, receptacle of medium size, rather smooth, releasing the berry easily; calyx of medium size, pale; flesh red, translucent, tender, moderately solid, quite firm, but juicy; seeds relatively small; flavor mild subacid, with an agreeable aroma; quality good to very good for both dessert and culinary use. Season July 1 to August 10, in Madison County, Indiana, lasting for several weeks.

The bush is described as of moderate vigor, with a distinct tendency to branch, but making fewer suckers than most other red varieties.

The hardiness and other desirable characteristics of this variety, as proved in Indiana and Michigan, render it promising for other northern districts.

The specimens illustrated on Plate XLVI were grown by Flansburgh & Potter, Leslie, Michigan.

Another Set of Promising New Fruits
Plate LIX


To the regret of pear lovers who appreciate varieties chiefly, if not solely, for their flavor and quality, the trend in American pomology in recent years, as judged by the character of varieties introduced, has been toward superficial beauty, size, and productiveness rather than toward marked improvement in dessert quality. The necessity for varieties resistant to diseases affecting foliage and fruit has played an important part in fostering this tendency. This is especially true as regards the disease known as pear blight, to which many of the finer sorts have succumbed in the South, and which renders the culture of pears an uncertain undertaking in the Middle States, especially in the great Mississippi Valley. It is unfortunate that the planting of a number of the finer dessert sorts has practically ceased in the regions mentioned, their places having been taken by the more vigorous and resistant varieties of the Oriental type, none of which has yet developed high dessert quality.

The fact that Seckel and a few others of the European type have persisted here and there throughout the region in question, where Bartlett, Clapp Favorite, Flemish Beauty, and other popular sorts have succumbed, has given rise to the hope, among some growers, that through the agency of seedlings of these more resistant sorts varieties may ultimately be developed that will be sufficiently blight resistant to endure the existing conditions and at the same time retain the high quality of the parent varieties.

Among the most promising varieties in this respect is the Philopena, shown on plate LIX. Its record well illustrates the vicissitudes that frequently attend the early history of fruit varieties which subsequently prove their value through the possession of some strongly marked characters.

The essential facts, as related by Mr. W. H. Ragan, are as follows: In 1843 the late Joshua Lindley, who had for some years conducted a nursery at Monrovia, Ind., closed out his stock preparatory to returning to his former home in Guilford County, N. C. The late Reuben Ragan, of Putnam County, Ind., purchased part of this stock. Among it was a long-bodied seedling pear tree, in which was a dormant bud of the Aremberg (synonym Beurre d’Aremberg) pear. As the latter was a rare and high-priced variety in the region at the time, this tree was given special attention by the owner, with the natural result that a strong and thrifty top was quickly grown from the Aremberg bud. About 1847, during one of those epidemics of pear blight which have repeatedly devastated the trees of the region, the Aremberg top was attacked by the disease and killed down to the seedling stock. Little attention was subsequently paid to the tree until it came into bearing. It was then found to yield a delicious late fall pear of medium size, which was named Philopena by the originator some time between 1850 and 1860.

It appears to have been first described in the Report of the Secretary of Agriculture for 1889.

It has been propagated locally in Putnam County, Ind., and disseminated to some extent by distribution to experimenters through the Department of Agriculture. While its parentage is not known, it strongly resembles in certain characters both Seckel and Louise Bonne de Jersey.

Plate LIX shows a fair-sized specimen of this fruit grown on the original tree in 1901, by Mr. R. M. Ragan, at Fillmore, Ind.

Description: Form oblong pyriform, tapering sharply to the stem; size medium, or slightly below; surface moderately smooth; color dark yellow, lightly russeted, and showing a brownish blush on side exposed to the sun; dots numerous, small, russet; cavity obsolete, stem of medium length, and diameter, obliquely inserted; basin regular, small, shallow, slightly furrowed; calyx segments small, converging; eye small, closed; skin rather thick, tenacious; core oval, of medium size, closed; seeds of medium size, plump, brown, numerous; flesh yellowish, fine-grained, meaty, moderately juicy; flavor sweet and rich; quality good to very good. Season, October and November in central Indiana.

The original tree, now more than sixty years old, is still in thrifty condition, bearing annual crops. It is an upright but rather straggling grower, the young wood having a yellowish-green color. The variety appears worthy of experimental planting throughout the Middle States.

Another Set of Promising New Fruits
Plate LXII


(SYNONYM: Brittlewood No. 1)

In regions where temperatures lower than -20° F. are frequently experienced, the varieties of the Domestica type of plums, which constitute the main dependence in the milder fruit regions of the North, maintain but an uncertain existence, and are not infrequently entirely destroyed by freezing. Fruit growers of the Upper Mississippi Valley in particular have sustained heavy losses in this way and have been devoting careful attention to the development by selection or breeding, or by both methods in combination, of varieties of the hardy native plum of that region (Prunus americana, of the botanists). The result has been that a large number of wildings of greater or less promise have been transplanted to gardens and christened and introduced to the public through the medium of commercial nurseries. The large majority of these have proved to be of but doubtful value, but among them and the seedlings grown from them, some very distinct improvements over the wild type are appearing.

One of the best of these is the variety originated by Mr. Theodore Williams, of Benson, Nebr., from seed of Quaker, pollinated by Harrison Peach, the former one of the earliest introductions of this species, and one of the best in quality. Brittlewood was commercially introduced by Mr. J. W. Kerr, of Denton, Md., in 1896.

Description: Form globular, symmetrical; size large for the Americana type; cavity small, shallow; stem short, slender; suture shallow; apex slightly depressed; surface smooth; color light coppery red, covered with a heavy bluish-white bloom; clots numerous, minute, russet; skin thick, tenacious, free from bitterness; stone oval, rather large, cling; flesh yellowish, translucent, meaty, juicy; flavor mild subacid, rich; quality very good. Season end of August in eastern Nebraska.

Tree strong, spreading, vigorous; worthy of thorough testing in the North.

The specimen shown on plate LXII was grown by Mr. Theodore Williams, of Benson, Nebr.


Unlike the Brittlewood, which grew from planted seed, the Stoddard plum appears to have been a wilding.

It was first brought to notice by Mr. B. F. Stoddard, of Jessup, Iowa, about 1875, who found it growing in the garden of Mrs. Caroline Baker, of that village. Mrs. Baker states that her husband secured the trees during the early settlement of the region at some point farther north, presumably in the woods, on the Maquoketa River. Her belief as to the locality of origin is strengthened by the fact that Mr. Elmer Reeves, of Waverly, Iowa, informs the writer that he found a yard in the village of Sumner full of trees of the same variety, which had been brought from near the Maquoketa River.

The variety was commercially introduced by the Wragg Nursery at Waukee, Iowa, about 1895, and has been found adapted to conditions at many points between Nebraska and Maryland.

Description: Form roundish, slightly oblique; size medium; cavity small, shallow; apex minute, depressed; surface smooth; color deep purplish red, with bluish white bloom; dots numerous, minute, yellow; skin rather thick and tough, acid but only slightly astringent; stone oval, of medium size, cling; flesh deep yellow, translucent, tender, juicy; flavor mild subacid, rich; quality good.

Tree strong, vigorous, and productive. A valuable sort for the North and West.

The specimen shown on plate LXII was received from the late Prof. E. S. Goff, of Madison, Wis., in 1901.

Another Set of Promising New Fruits


The exact identity and the place of production of the commercial supply of the Jordan almond were until quite recently shrouded in obscurity. Under the name “Jordan” considerable quantities of almond kernels of large size, symmetrical form, and delicate flavor have long been known in the markets of England and America. These kernels were said to have come from Malaga, Spain, where a single firm practically controlled the product and exported it entirely in the form of shelled kernels. A search of European nursery catalogues failed to afford any clue to the identity of the variety or the source from which the nuts came, and steps were accordingly taken by the Department of Agriculture, through its Division of Pomology and Section of Seed and Plant Introduction, to locate the variety in its region of commercial production and secure authentic stock for testing in the almond districts of the United States. This end was accomplished by Mr. David G. Fairchild, agricultural explorer, who, during the summer of 1901, visited southeastern Spain, investigated the orchards, and secured scions from bearing trees. From these scions trees were propagated that are now growing at several points in the United States, and may soon be expected to yield fruit.

Meanwhile, Mr. John Rock, of Niles, Cal., had secured, early in 1897, through a French correspondent, some dormant budded trees propagated on myrobalan plum stock in France from scions obtained in Spain in 1896. Fearing that the almond would not thrive on myrobalan roots in California, Mr. Rock grafted 100 of these dormant buds upon bearing peach trees, using as a scion the entire trunk of the myrobalan plum stock with the dormant almond bud upon it.

Nearly all grew and came into bearing, but only three of these proved to be of the true “Jordan” type, the others varying greatly, and most of them proving worthless.

The nuts shown on plate LXIII are from one of these trees on Mr. Rock’s grounds, and the nuts from them submitted to dealers in Malaga, through United States Consul Ridgely, were pronounced the true “Jordan” type. The distinctive characters of the type are well shown in the illustration. Whether more than a single variety is marketed under this name yet remains to be determined. The name “Jordan” has been supposed by some to be a corruption from the French “jardin,” meaning “garden,” but no evidence of the accuracy of this conclusion has been discovered.

The Jordan almond seems worthy of testing in the milder commercial almond districts, especially in those where late spring frosts are of rare occurrence.

Description: Form long, narrow, but plump, distinctly curved along the ventral suture; hull thin, downy, loosening readily from the nut; shell smooth, dense, hard, and thick, with a very smooth inner surface; kernel long, narrow, smooth, light brown, of fine, firm texture and delicate, rich flavor. As imported, the kernels are highly esteemed by confectioners for the preparation of candies and “salted” almonds, the prepared kernels usually retailing from 50 to 60 cents per pound in the latter form. Mr. Fairchild states that the various grades of kernels are designated in Spain according to size by the names of animals, such as “donkeys,” “horses,” “tigers,” “lions,” “elephants,” and “mammoths,” the “donkeys” being the smallest and the “mammoths” the largest grade. The sizes are separated by hand picking.

The common method of propagation, as observed in Spain by Mr. Fairchild, is to bud on bitter almond seedlings two years or more old, in the orchard at a height of 2 to 4 feet from the ground. Like other almonds, the Jordan blossoms very early in spring, and is therefore susceptible to injury by late spring frosts. Its culture will therefore probably be limited to localities specially favored in this respect. It is, presumably, considerably less hardy than the common hard-shell almond or the hardier peaches.

Another Set of Promising New Fruits
Plate LX


(SYNONYMS: Belle of Georgia; Georgia.)

The Chinese Cling group of peaches has, in recent years, demonstrated its adaptability to a much wider range of climatic conditions than was formerly supposed to be the case. Elberta, the best known variety of this group, has already proved a successful and profitable commercial sort from Georgia and Texas to Michigan and Connecticut. Among the varieties of this group that are less widely known, perhaps none possesses more valuable points than that which was introduced to cultivation by Dr. S. H. Rumph about 1883, under the name “Belle.” The variety was afterwards catalogued by many nurserymen as “Belle of Georgia.” The name was published as “Georgia” in the catalogue of the American Pomological Society for 1899, the fact that this name had already been published for at least three other varieties having, in the chaotic state of pomological nomenclature, apparently escaped notice.

It is a remarkable fact that Elberta and Belle were grown as seedlings from the same crop of fruit of one Chinese Cling tree in Georgia. The early history of Belle is thus recorded by Powell, from information furnished by the originator:

Seedling of Chinese Cling possibly crossed with Oldmixon Free. Originated with Mr. Lewis A. Rumph, Marshallville, Ga., from seed from a Chinese Cling tree in the variety orchard of Dr. S. H. Rumph, Marshallville, Ga. The original Chinese Cling tree stood in the center of the variety block near some Oldmixon Free, Oldmixon Cling, Crawford Early, and Crawford Late trees. Mr. L. A. Rumph planted the stone in the fall of 1870 from the same tree, and at the same time S. H. Rumph planted a stone that produced the Elberta.

Though slower than Elberta to attain popularity in the North, Belle is found to endure lower winter temperatures without injury and to be more reliably productive than the former variety in some sections. The only important objection to it, from the commercial standpoint, appears to be its white color, which may render it less popular in markets that prefer yellow-fleshed sorts.

Description: Form roundish oblong, in the South often tapering to a distinct point, usually symmetrical; size medium to large; surface smooth, soft, and velvety; color creamy white, with a beautiful crimson blush on the side exposed to the sun, sometimes marbled with crimson; down short, adherent; cavity regular, small, shallow, abrupt; suture shallow, except at cavity and apex; apex small and depressed in suture in Northern-grown specimens, frequently large, prominent, and pointed in the South; skin thin, tenacious; stone oval, of medium size, and free; flesh whitish, tinged with red at stone, tender, melting, and juicy when ripe, though sufficiently firm for shipment when picked in advance of full maturity; flavor subacid, rich, and pleasant; quality good to very good. Season, late July at Fort Valley, Ga., late August in northern Virginia and Missouri, beginning to ripen slightly in advance of Elberta, but ending at about midseason of that variety.

Tree vigorous, spreading, rather slender, hardy, and productive. Leaf glands small, reniform; blossoms small.

It is one of the most promising white-fleshed freestones for the commercial peach districts, especially on light and dry soils.

Another Set of Promising New Fruits
Plate LXI


(SYNONYM: Willett’s Seedling)

This promising yellow freestone is reported to have originated from a stone brought from some point in South America by the late Cornelius O’Bryan, of “Bryant’s Minstrels,” who planted it in his garden at No. 110 West Fortieth street, New York City, some time prior to 1867. The property came into possession of Mr. Wallace P. Willett in 1874, and the tree was in that year large and in full bearing, carrying several bushels of fine fruit. It was crowded by buildings and fences, which necessitated frequent and severe pruning; but it survived until about 1888 or 1889. Twelve selected specimens of the fruit from the original tree were exhibited by Mr. Willett at the American Institute Fair in 1874. These specimens weighed 12 ounces each and measured 12 inches each in circumference. On this exhibit he was awarded the diploma of the institute for “Seedling peaches.”

The following year Mr. Willett furnished a few scions to C. L. Van Duzen, of Geneva, N. Y., who first propagated the peach and who introduced it in 1876 under the name “Willett’s Seedling,” which has since been reduced to Willett, in conformity with the rules of nomenclature of the American Pomological Society.

The variety does not appear to have been widely advertised or distributed, but demand for the trees has been found to grow steadily in recent years, as its worth has been recognized in different portions of the North. Its hardiness in fruit bud, beauty, excellent shipping quality, and special adaptability for canning, preserving, and brandying make it one of the most promising medium late varieties for the Northern commercial grower. Unfortunately, the stock of the variety in the nurseries appears to have been considerably mixed, so that in many cases inferior sorts have been sent out under the name; hence care should be exercised by planters to secure stock true to name.

Description: Form roundish obovate, conical, often unequal; size large to very large ; surface very soft and velvety, covered with short, loose down; color rich deep yellow, deeply blushed, and occasionally striped with crimson; cavity very large, deep, and abrupt; suture shallow except at cavity and apex; apex moderately prominent; skin moderately thick, tenacious; stone of medium size, oval, free; flesh rich yellow, stained with red at the stone, firm and compact, yet juicy; flavor sprightly subacid; quality good, especially desirable for preserving.

Tree vigorous, foliage large; glands reniform; blossoms large.

Commended to commercial planters who find demand for a high-grade yellow freestone to follow Elberta.

The specimens shown on plate LXI were received from Mr. Wallace P. Willett, East Orange, N. J., in 1900.