Even More Promising New Fruits
by William A. Taylor, Pomologist, Bureau of Plant Industry
excerpted from the Yearbook of the US Department of Agriculture, 1907
For many years there has been a strong tendency in the American fruit trade to urge that fruit growers reduce the number of varieties in their commercial plantations. When commercial fruit growing was developing out of the old-time family orchard, with its succession of varieties ripening throughout the season, such advice was undoubtedly good for the average individual planter, but there appears good ground for the belief that a point has been reached in several of our orchard fruits where a wider range of season and quality would result in a steadier net income from the fruit crop, and therefore in a sounder business condition in the fruit industry in many sections. Attractive diversity in appearance and quality stimulates a demand for fruit among consumers and is worthy of recognition by the fruit grower as an important factor in determining his selection of varieties for planting. If he has several varieties in his orchard rather than a single one or two, the advantages of cross pollination are secured also, and the risk of loss of crop through unfavorable weather at the blossoming season is reduced.
The varying requirements of our domestic and foreign markets and the importance of growing in each section of the country those varieties that are best adapted to the climatic and cultural conditions there, render familiarity with new types and varieties important to all progressive fruit growers.
The present article, in connection with those that have preceded it on the same subject in the Yearbook since 1901, calls attention to several recently introduced or little-known fruits that are considered worthy of testing in various sections of the country. (See Small Farmer’s Journal 42-1 & 42-4 for previous excerpts.)
This variety first came to notice in the orchard of the late Jesse Hiatt, of Peru, Madison County, Iowa, about 1881. It was then a sprout, supposed to be about 6 years old, from the stock of a Yellow Bellflower tree, the top of which had been destroyed. The beauty and fine quality of the fruit attracted Mr. Hiatt’s attention and he at once began its propagation in a small way for his own planting. The tree proved to be a hardy, vigorous, upright grower, with very heavy, dark-green foliage, and a regular annual bearer. At 15 years of age the original sprout was reported to be 13 inches in diameter at the ground. The originator stated in 1896 that while three-fifths of his orchard had been destroyed by drought and cold during the preceding eight years, “Delicious” had not been injured in any respect. The name “Hawkeye” was at one time applied to the variety by the Hiatt family and locally used, but does not appear to have been published in connection with it and is therefore not entitled to recognition as a synonym.
The right to propagate and sell the variety for a term of five years having been sold to the Stark Brothers Nurseries and Orchards Company about 1894, with the right to rename the variety, it was commercially introduced by that firm in 1895 under the name “Delicious,” which word was registered in the United States Patent Office as a trade-mark July 4, 1905.
Description: Form roundish conic, sometimes indistinctly ribbed and knobbed at apex; size medium to large; surface smooth, glossy, taking a high polish when rubbed slightly; color clear, translucent, pale yellow, washed over most of the surface with mixed red, striped and splashed with dark crimson, and in dry climates covered with a thin whitish bloom; dots numerous, small yellow; cavity regular, of medium size, deep, russeted; stem medium to long, stout, curved, downy; basin regular, of medium size, depth, and slope, slightly furrowed and somewhat downy; calyx segments medium, converging, eye of medium size, closed; skin moderately thick, tenacious; core of medium size, oval, clasping, open; seeds numerous, plump, medium, brown; flesh yellowish, moderately fine grained, breaking, juicy; flavor mild sub-acid, quality very good. Season December to March, in Madison County, Iowa.
This promising new sort originated about 1880 as a chance seedling near a place where cider had been made in earlier years on the farm of the late Nelson Cox, in Windsor Township, Lawrence County, Ohio. Little notice was taken of it for several years after it began bearing, until 1895, when its crop began to attract attention. Since then it has been somewhat disseminated in an experimental way, and commercially to a slight extent by the sons of Mr. Cox.
The tree is described as rather upright and spreading in habit, with rather pale bark. It blossoms just after Ben Davis and is considered a productive and regular bearer.
The coined name “Ensee” was applied to the variety about 1808 in perpetuation of the apple brand (N. C.) of the originator, who was for many years recognized as one of the leading commercial apple growers of his region.
Description: Form roundish to roundish oblate; size large; surface rather smooth, undulating; color pale yellow washed with mixed red, splashed and brokenly striped with bright crimson, frequently over-spread with gray; dots variable, some russeted and aureole, many of those near the apex being indented; cavity irregular, large, deep, abrupt, russeted, and sometimes lipped; stem short, moderately stout; basin deep, abrupt, furrowed, downy; calyx segments small, converging, reflexed at tip; eye small, nearly closed; skin thick, tenacious; core of medium size, roundish, clasping, open; seeds numerous, of medium size, plump; flavor subacid, rich; quality very good. Season late autumn and early winter in Lawrence County, Ohio, keeping well in cold storage. This variety is apparently deserving of test throughout the Middle States and the irrigated valleys of the West, as it is an apple of large size and fine quality, adapted to home use and special markets. The specimen illustrated on Plate XXX was grown by Cox Brothers, Rockwood, Lawrence County, Ohio.
The large size and fine color of the sweet cherries grown in the Willamette and Columbia river valleys in Oregon have for many years attracted the attention of cherry growers and users to those sections, which seem peculiarly adapted to the production of this fruit. Fortunately for the reputation of the Willamette Valley, the earliest introduction of cherries there (in 1848 by Henderson Lewelling, at Milwaukee, Oregon) appears to have included some of the choicest varieties, so that the planters of that district were not compelled to go through the long and trying experience with seedlings of indifferent quality that is common in newly settled regions. At the same time some very promising seedlings from these older sorts have in recent years come to light, some of which, such as Republican, Bing, and Hoskins, have attained considerable commercial importance.
One of the most promising of these new sorts is the Lambert. This variety appears to have originated as a seedling under a Napoleon (syn. Royal Ann) tree in the orchard now owned by Mr. J. H. Lambert, at Milwaukee, Oregon, which was planted by the late Henderson Lewelling during and shortly after 1848. This seedling tree which is supposed to have been a cross of Black Heart on Napoleon, was grafted to May Duke before it reached bearing age and transplanted to a location at one end of the old orchard. About 1880 the May Duke top was broken off or died, and a sprout from the seedling stock was permitted to form a new top to the tree. When it came into bearing its fruit attracted Mr. Lambert’s attention, and shortly after 1890 small shipments of it sent to Boston and other eastern markets sold at much higher prices than other varieties shipped at the same time.
In 1895 Mr. Lambert gave to the Oregon State Horticultural Society the exclusive right to propagate and disseminate the variety from the original tree and a few trees that he had grown from it, but scions having been previously secured by other persons without his knowledge, the society derived little financial benefit from its introduction. So far as known, it has not been extensively planted east of the Rocky Mountains, but it is considered worthy of testing wherever sweet cherries thrive.
Description: Form oblong, heart-shaped; size large to very large; cavity of medium size and depth, with gradual slope; stem medium to long, rather slender; suture a mere line, terminating in a russet dot in a slight depression at the apex; surface smooth, except for numerous fine indented dots; color light red, beautifully marbled with darker red; skin moderately thick, tenacious; stone oval, rather large, adhering rather closely to flesh; flesh purplish red, with lighter marbling, meaty, juicy; flavor sweet, rich; quality good to very good. Season rather late, following Bing.
The fruit is borne in large clusters, a twig 3 1/2 inches long received in 1907 having 23 well-developed fruits upon it. The tree is a strong and vigorous grower, with large leaves.
The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXI were grown by Mr. J. R. Nunnamaker, Hood River, Oregon.
While the Japanese persimmon or kaki (Diospyros kaki) has received much more attention from American fruit growers than our native species, the most widely distributed and abundant of these, Diospyros virginiana, is gradually creeping into cultivation and will doubtless eventually be recognized as an important economic species throughout our southern States. Though lacking the large size and brilliant color of the Japanese type, the superior hardiness of the tree of the native species, coupled with its regularity of bearing and endurance of climatic vicissitudes, largely compensates for these shortcomings. The choice varieties that are gradually being brought to light are also of richer flavor and finer quality than any of the Japanese sorts yet introduced.
One of the largest and most promising of these from the commercial standpoint is the Miller, which was discovered by Col. J. C. Evens in 1894, in Jackson County, Missouri, in an abandoned field on the farm of a man bearing that name. Colonel Evans secured scions from this tree and now has an orchard of 200 trees of the variety in bearing. He finds it a regular and abundant bearer and markets the fruit in Kansas City and other city markets in 8-pound grape baskets, which usually sell for 50 to 75 cents. At these prices he considers it the most profitable fruit he grows. He contemplates using paper boxes of a size that will hold about 1 dozen persimmons, so that the fruit can be left on the tree until it begins to soften and still stand shipment for considerable distances.
Description: Form roundish oblate; size large to very large for its class; cavity regular, small, shallow; calyx large, 4 or sometimes 5 parted; stem short, moderately stout; apex a point protruding from a very slight depression; surface moderately smooth; color reddish, translucent, covered with profuse bluish white bloom; flesh yellowish, translucent, with yellow veins and quite meaty; seeds medium, plump, broad, brown, rather numerous; flavor sweet and rich, though slightly astringent until fully ripe and soft. It ripens in September in Jackson county, Missouri, on thin dry land, but on richer soil and under cultivation is considerably later and can be marketed during a period of several weeks during autumn and early winter without resorting to cold storage. The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXII were grown by Col. J. C. Evens, Harlem, Missouri.
The tree is a strong grower and regularly productive. It is considered worthy of testing in all persimmon-growing sections where a large variety, ripening late, is desired.
(Synonym: Little’s Ruby)
This choice variety was disseminated by the late James A. Little, of Cartersburg, Indiana, about 1897, the exact time and place of its origin being at the present time unknown. It is supposed to have reached Mr. Little in the form of scions from a correspondent. It has been somewhat confused with a variety experimentally disseminated by the late Judge Samuel Miller about 1899 or 1900 under the same name, which was found as a wild tree on his grounds at Bluffton, Missouri, about 1883.
Description: Form roundish oblate; size medium; cavity regular, of medium size, shallow; calyx 4-lobed, entire; stem short, rather slender; apex small, protruding; surface smooth; color yellowish red, shading into deep red, covered with a thin whitish bloom; dots minute; skin thin, rather tender; seeds rather small, plump, brown, few (4 to 6); flesh translucent, dark orange color, meaty, moderately juicy, sweet, though with a slightly astringent aftertaste until fully ripe; quality very good.
Season variable, ripening without frost, though hanging to the tree until after freezing if not harvested earlier. The tree is abundantly productive in Hendricks county, Indiana and is reported to be so at Farmingdale, Illinois, by Mr. Benjamin Buckman, who has fruited it there. Though of only medium size, the earliness, beauty, fine quality, productiveness of this variety render it very promising for growers in the more northern portions of the persimmon region.
Mr. Little reported that he was unable to supply the demand for it in the Indianapolis market at 10 cents per pint when marketed in common pint berry boxes packed in crates. With this and other varieties he found that the number of seeds per fruit was considerably less when they were grown at a distance from male trees, though the flavor and quality of the fruit appeared to be slightly lowered as the number of seeds was reduced. The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXIII were grown by the late James A. Little at Cartersburg, Indiana.
(Synonym: King of Siam)
This most interesting and delicious orange has, from the time of its introduction to this country, been classed with the mandarins and tangerines under Citrus nobilis, but is so distinct in tree, fruit, and time of ripening from the “kid glove” representatives of that species that it appears worthy of recognition as a distinct horticultural group if not as a subspecies. It is apparently the first citrus variety of high quality to reach the United States by direct importation from the early home of the genus in farther India, rather than by slow migration through western Asia and the Mediterranean region of Europe.
The variety appears to have been introduced through the interest aroused in the mind of Mrs. Dr. S. R. Magee, of Riverside, California, by an account in a magazine of an orange of high quality grown in China. In an effort to secure trees of this she wrote to her personal friend and former fellow-townsman, Hon. John A. Bingham, then United States minister to Tokyo, for assistance. This correspondence resulted in the shipment by Minister Bingham to Doctor Magee of six fruits secured at Saigon, Cochin China, packed in powdered charcoal, which reached him in February, 1880, after having been about two months in transit.
Two of these fruits were decayed when received, but one of the sound ones, which was tested on arrival, was pronounced by those who tasted it superior in texture and flavor to any oranges previously tested by them. It was stated in the reports published at the time that Minister Bingham reported when he sent the fruits that the gardener in the “Imperial Gardens,” from which the fruit was taken, stated that it would be almost impossible so to pack the trees that they would stand so long a journey, but that this fruit could be propagated from the seed. Doctor Magee accordingly planted the seeds of these oranges and grew from them by the following autumn 30 seedlings a foot high. He had meanwhile renewed the request for trees of the variety, and in October of the same year received from Minister Bingham, via S.S. Peking, a box containing “twenty-five young plants of the King Orange,” sent just as they were received from Saigon. Minister Bingham stated that he had secured these through the favor of his esteemed colleague, Mons. R. De Bollay, charge d’affaires of France in Japan. These imported trees appear to have been seedlings and from the botanic garden at Saigon, where the French had been in control for some thirteen years prior to 1880.
Whether both the imported trees and the seedlings grown by Doctor Magee were budded from is not entirely clear, but that more than one seedling tree was thus perpetuated seems strongly probable and possibly accounts for the rather wide range in habit of growth, thorniness of wood, and quality of fruit found under this varietal name today.
Doctor Magee appears to have first sold trees of it in 1882, but so far as known the variety was first fruited in America by Mr. J. E. Cutter about 1885 on top-budded trees, specimens grown by him having been sent to the New Orleans Exposition in that year. Mr. Cutter sent specimens of the fruit to the late William Saunders, Horticulturist of the Department of Agriculture, in March, 1887, these being the first that reached the Department. Mr. Cutter is reported to have developed a much less thorny strain than that first disseminated, and most of the stock of King grown in Florida appears to trace to his dissemination of the variety, though according to Reasoner two of the imported trees and buds from others were sent to Mr. John Carville Stovin at Winter Park, Florida, in 1882, presumably by Doctor Magee. The variety also reached Florida in 1882 in the form of buds received from Doctor Magee by the Beed, Knox & Beed Company, of Bulow, Volusia County, in July of that year. These buds were considered by Mr. L. B. Knox to have been cut from a single tree, and as the trees grown from them were very thorny Mr. Knox and his associates practiced systematic bud selection in their propagation with a view to getting rid of the thorns. In this effort they rebudded some of the trees twice in a season, and were eventually successful in reducing the thorniness to a considerable extent. About 1884 and for some time thereafter they disseminated the variety considerably through Florida. On March 10, 1887, they shipped to New York the first box of fruit of the variety marketed in the United States. This box is reported to have sold for $7 in that market.
The variety has not proved well adapted to the present citrus districts of California and has attained little commercial importance there. In certain localities in Florida it attains high perfection, however, and when well grown, so as to be free from thorn scars and sunburn, it brings higher prices in northern cities late in spring than any other variety grown in that State.
The tree is of stiff and upright habit, sprawling awkwardly when in fruit, and is peculiarly subject to breakage of limbs, owing to the brittleness of its wood. As introduced the variety was very thorny, but the strain disseminated by Mr. Cutter is a distinct improvement in this respect. The evident close reproduction of the more important and desirable characteristics through seed suggests the strong probability of the existence of other desirable allied sorts in the region from which it came.
Description: Form oblate to roundish oblate, often irregular; size medium to large; surface lumpy and uneven, frequently giving the fruit a rather uncouth appearance; oil cells large, numerous, depressed; color dark reddish orange; base often contracted and grooved; calyx small; stem slender; apex an irregular dot in a broad, shallow depression; rind moderately thick, rather soft, and possessing a distinctive aroma and flavor, agreeable to most persons; much more closely adherent to the flesh than that of the true mandarins; segments 10 to 13, fairly even in size, rather loosely attached, leaving an open, pithy center; flesh very dark orange, loose and soft in texture, with large, tender juice vesicles; seeds rather numerous, medium to large, long, pale green; juice abundant, having a rich orange color when fully ripe and a peculiarly rich, sweet, sirupy flavor, with a distinctive and agreeable aroma; quality very good; season late, March to May in the Florida orange districts.
As found in the markets the fruit of King is quite variable, the same “strap” or half box often containing specimens of the very highest quality and flavor with others of indifferent quality. This fruit probably needs more protection against sudden and extreme climatic changes than most varieties of its class, but taken at its best it ranks with the very best oranges in quality and is therefore worthy of the attention of commercial growers for special markets that demand and will pay for such quality. The specimen illustrated on Plate XXXIV was grown by Mr. John Fabyan at Conant, Lake County, Florida.
(Synonyms: Sandershaw, Soondershaw, Sundershah)
Since the superiority of quality of the choice Indian varieties of the mango over that of the common seedlings of tropical and subtropical America became evident through the fruiting of the Mulgoba in Florida in 1898 and subsequent years, there has been an active interest in the introduction of other reputed choice varieties of this most interesting fruit. A large number of such have been brought from India and some from other tropical countries by the Office of Seed and Plant Introduction of the Bureau of Plant Industry, while private enterprise has become sufficiently interested to import considerable numbers of certain sorts.
Of those that have fruited sufficiently in Florida thus far to disclose their distinctive characteristics, the Sandersha is one of the most unique and in certain respects the most promising. It was introduced by the then Section of Seed and Plant Introduction in 1901 (S. P. I. No. 7108), having been received from A. Lehmann, Ph. D., Bangalore, India, on July 31 of that year in the form of two inarched trees. A second lot of inarched trees received from Mr. W. Gollan, superintendent of the Government Botanic Garden at Saharanpur, India, under the name “Sundershah” (S. P. I. No. 10665) has not yet fruited, but is supposed to be the same sort. Little appears to have been published in India regarding the variety, but at the Subtropical Laboratory of the Department at Miami, Florida, where it has been fruited for two seasons, it has proved very productive, of exceptionally large size, fine dessert quality in its favor as a commercial sort. Mr. P. J. Wester, of the Subtropical Laboratory, considers cross pollination necessary to insure productiveness.
Description: Form long, compressed, and rather slender, tapering toward stem and terminating in a distinct curved beak at the apex; size very large, averaging about 20 ounces in weight, and occasionally attaining a weight of 2 pounds; stem stout, apex prominent, curved and “beaked;” surface smooth; color clear yellow, with a faint pinkish blush in the sun; dots numerous, small, russeted; skin moderately thick; seed long, curved, thin, small in proportion to size of fruit and thickness of flesh; flesh rich reddish yellow, juicy and tender, almost entirely free from fiber; flavor sprightly and refreshing in the fresh state, though with rather less aroma than Mulgoba. Its higher acidity will doubtless render it more acceptable for serving in sliced form than are most of the mangoes thus far obtainable in our markets. Season very late, ripening the latter part of August at Miami, Florida. Sandersha is considered well worthy of testing in the mango districts of Florida, Porto Rico, and Hawaii. The specimen illustrated on Plate XXXV was grown at the Subtropical Laboratory of the Bureau of Plant Industry at Miami, Florida.
As more attention is paid to the pecan as a nut producer in distinction from it as a forest species it becomes increasingly apparent that only a very small proportion of the trees thus far brought to notice process sufficient merit to justify their perpetuation and dissemination under distinctive names. This is especially true of varieties for commercial orchards, and emphasizes the importance of conservatism in the naming and introducing of varieties at the present juncture, when thousands of planted seedlings in orchards throughout the South are coming into bearing each year. At the same time it is recognized that whenever a seedling is found to possess important characteristics of decided superiority it should be immediately propagated, on an experimental scale at least, to insure its preservation in the event of destruction of the original tree.
The original tree of this variety is a wild seedling about 20 years old standing on land belonging to Mr. H. L. Wolford, in Wilson Creek bottom, near McKinney, Texas. It was called to the attention of Mr. E. W. Kirkpatrick about 1898 by one of his employees, with the result that Mr. Kirkpatrick began propagating it in a small way the following year. He named it in honor of the owner of the tree, and states that he published a description of the variety about 1902. The original tree is so located that a considerable portion of each crop is taken by trespassers, so that its actual yield for any year has not been ascertained. It is reported to be a rather slender grower, with tough wood and narrow leaves, and bearing numerous heavy catkins. It is considered one of the most productive varieties grown in that section, bearing many clusters containing 7 or 8 nuts each. In 1907 Mr. Kirkpatrick harvested 20 pounds of nuts from one branch of it, 6 inches in diameter, that had been top-worked on a tree of bearing age.
Description: Size medium or slightly below, averaging 75 to 90 nuts per pound; form oval to oblong oval, compressed, with a rather blunt, slightly curved, quadrangular apex; color rather bright yellowish brown, with few and narrow velvety black markings; shell very thin and quite brittle, with thin and soft partitions, cracking easily; kernel plump, smooth, and full to the tip, with rather narrow but shallow grooves, releasing the shell easily; kernel color bright golden brown, texture fine, meaty, and solid; flavor rich, nutty, and free from astringence; quality very good.
Because of the locality of its origin this variety is worthy of testing throughout the more western pecan districts, both for family use and as a commercial variety. Its productiveness and excellent cracking quality compensate to a considerable extent for its lack of size.
The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXVI, figure 1, were grown on a top-grafted tree by Mr. E. W. Kirkpatrick, McKinney, Texas.
(Synonym: President Roosevelt)
The original tree of the President was grown by Griffling Brothers, of Macclenny, Florida, about 1889, from a nut obtained by them at Bagdad, Florida. The tree was sold by them in 1891 with other seedlings to a customer who planted it in Jacksonville, Florida, where it now stands. The tree is reported to have begun bearing six years after it was transplanted to Jacksonville, and has borne from 70 to 120 pounds of nuts per year in recent years prior to 1907, when it was defoliated by a hailstorm in May, which destroyed the crop. Its propagation was begun about 1902, and it was named and catalogued for sale by the originators in 1903 as “President Roosevelt.” In 1904 the name was changed to “President” by the introducers.
The tree is described as a symmetrical, upright grower, but less vigorous than Rome and Van Deman.
Description: Form oblong, compressed, with a rather sharply pointed base, and quadrangular apex with prominent point; color bright yellowish brown, with a few narrow and broken black strips near apex; size large — 45 to 50 per pound; shell of medium thickness for so large a nut, with thin and soft partitions, cracking easily; kernel long, rather deeply and narrowly grooved, but plump and releasing shell easily; kernel color bright and attractive, texture rather fine-grained for so large a nut; flavor pleasant, free from astringence; quality very good.
This variety is considered one of the most promising large sorts that has originated in Florida and is considered worthy of testing in that State and adjacent pecan districts.
The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXVI, figure 2, were grown in Jacksonville, Florida.
(Synonym: Texas Prolific)
In 1895, shortly after he had mastered the art of ring-budding the pecan and thus had been enabled to propagate and disseminate the San Saba variety from the original tree of that sort, which stands on his place, Mr. E. E. Risien, of Rescue, Texas, planted by San Saba nuts from the original tree for the purpose of growing a considerable orchard of seedlings of that variety. He did this in the expectation that a large proportion of the seedlings would come true to the parent, which they failed to do. Certain of the young seedlings early gave evidence of distinctiveness, through their leaf and wood characters, so that as early as 1897 he began top-budding from them on to bearing trees in order to determine as quickly as possible their fruiting quality and other characteristics. A bud from one of these which was thus top-worked in 1897 on an old bearing tree on the San Saba River bottom bore its first nuts in 1898. The precocity thus indicated and the large size, bright color, plump kernel, and fine quality of the new sort caused Mr. Risien to name it “Sovereign” early in 1899, at the suggestion of Mr. A. A. Wheeler, of San Francisco, to whom some of the first crop of nuts had been sent. The exact location in the orchard of the original seedling tree not having been recorded, Mr. Risien began nursery propagation from the bearing top-worked branch and disseminated the variety in the form of 1-year-old ring budded trees under the name “Sovereign” in 1900. A brief characterization of the variety by the writer, based on specimens of the crops of 1899 and 1900, was published under that name in the Cyclopedia of American Horticulture in 1901. Meanwhile Mr. Risien listed the variety as “Texas Prolific” in his price list for 1900-1901, which was apparently issued in the fall of 1900. As the latter name consists of more than one word and is otherwise in conflict with the Code of Nomenclature of the American Pomological Society, which has also been adopted by the National Nut Growers’ Association, the name “Sovereign” is recognized as having precedence and is adopted in this publication. The top-budded branch above referred to continued to thrive and bear good crops until the season of 1903, when a June freshet in the San Saba River flooded the entire bottom well into the tops of the old bearing trees. The force of the flood and the weight of the driftwood that it carried broke the entire budded branch with its load of nuts from the tree. Fortunately the branch was discovered by Mr. Risien after the flood subsided and before the leaves upon it had wilted. He immediately cut all available bud wood from it, with which he budded about 200 young seedlings then growing in his nursery. Of these about 75 lived, thus preserving a good stock of the variety. Close watch has been kept of the trees in the seedling orchard in the hope that the original tree of the Sovereign could be located when it came into bearing, but without success. In the autumn of 1907 Mr. Risien reluctantly concluded that it must have been one of several that had been washed out bodily in some of the freshets which are experienced frequently in that section. The importance of prompt propagation of valuable seedlings in order to insure their perpetuation in the event of the loss of the original tree is emphasized by this experience.
Description: Size large, averaging 50 to 55 nuts per pound; form oblong to oblong obovate, compressed, with a full and smooth base and a blunt and usually symmetrical apex; surface quite lumpy, conforming to the undulations of the kernel; color bright, yellowish, with long, narrow, striped markings, ranging from bright red to reddish brown in color; shell thin to medium for so large a nut, not a distinct paper shell, like San Saba, Russell, Young, and a few others, but brittle and cracking easily; kernel plump, rather narrowly and deeply grooved, and considerably convoluted, not releasing the shell as easily as some; kernel color bright and clear; texture very fine grained and firm; flavor sweet, rich, nutty, quality very good. The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXVI, figure 3, were grown by Mr. E. E. Risien, Rescue, Texas.
The tree is a moderately strong grower, more vigorous than its parent San Saba, but of the same general character. The variety is considered especially worthy of testing in the more western and arid pecan districts. It has been experimentally planted throughout the South, but not for a sufficient length of time to determine its adaptability to the more humid eastern sections.
This variety was brought to light by Mr. E. E. Risien, then of San Saba, Texas through the offering of a premium for the best variety of pecans brought to him during each season. The tree proved to be a sprout from a stump on land in Wallace Creek bottom in San Saba County, Texas, owned by the late James Henderson and occupied at the time by a Mr. Kincaid, who rented the place. The tree is reported to have since been killed by fire built against it by campers.
The variety was first propagated about 1900 by Mr. Risien and was disseminated by him under that name in the same year.
The tree is reported by Mr. Risien to be a vigorous though rather slender grower, with small narrow leaves with red markings on their stems. It blooms profusely, but rarely sets more than 2 or 3 nuts to the cluster and is therefore considered but moderately productive, though a regular bearer of fair crops. It is reported much easier to bud than either San Saba or Sovereign.
Description: Size large, averaging 45 to 50 nuts per pound; form broad oblong, compressed, with flat base and blunt quadrangular apex; surface rather smooth, but considerably ridged, especially toward apex; color bright, brownish, with a few scattered brownish splashes toward apex; shell medium in thickness with rather thick but soft partitions, cracking quite easily; kernel broad, flat, plump, smooth, releasing the kernel easily, darker than Sovereign or San Saba, but exceptionally attractive for confectioner’s use on cakes or candies; texture rather coarser than the above-named varieties, but decidedly finer than the average commercial pecan; flavor mild, pleasant; quality good. The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXVI, figure 4, were grown by Mr. E. E. Risien, Rescue, Texas.
So few of the pecan varieties yet found worthy of naming have originated north of the cotton belt that the discovery of a tree bearing good crops of nuts of fair size and good quality regularly as far north as Virginia appears worthy of special note. Such a one the Mantura appears to be. The original tree of this variety stands on the homestead of that name about 5 miles from the James River, in Surry County, Virginia. The tree is one of four grown from nuts planted by Mrs. Wilson, mother of Mr. W. P. Wilson, Fergussons Wharf, Virginia, the present owner, about 1866. The nuts planted came from a tree still standing at Surry, about 9 miles distant. The Mantura tree is about 11 feet in circumference and 80 to 90 feet high, with a symmetrical spread of top. Up to 1907 it had not missed a crop for the previous ten years having averaged 100 pounds and for several years 150 to 275 pounds. Like practically all pecans in the Eastern States the crop of 1907 was very light, owing probably to late frosts and wet weather in spring. The variety attracted the attention of Mr. W. N. Roper, who named it Mantura in 1906 and began its propagation. It was described and illustrated by Hume under that name in 1906.
Description: Size medium to large, averaging 60 to 65 to the pound, form long, rather slender, with pointed base and rather blunt apex; surface smooth, color rather bright, with narrow black markings at apex; shell thin, partitions thin and soft; cracking quality excellent; kernel long, slender, not always plump to the tip, but smooth and attractive, with narrow but shallow grooves; kernel color bright and clean; texture fine-grained, firm, oily; flavor sweet; quality very good. The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXVI, figure 5, were from the original tree.