This home, built around 1800 in Lancaster, Massachusetts, was the birthplace of Luther Burbank (1849-1926).
One of the leading plant breeders and horticulturists of his time, Luther Burbank developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants, including 113 varieties of plums and prunes, 10 varieties of berries, 50 varieties of lilies and the Freestone peach, while greatly decreasing the cost of their production and increasing their decorative or nutritional values. At any one time he maintained as many as 3,000 experiments involving millions of plants. His objective was to improve the quality of plants and thereby increase the worlds food supply.
In 1871 he developed the Burbank potato, which was introduced in Ireland to help combat the blight epidemic. He sold the rights to the Burbank potato for $150, which he used to travel to Santa Rosa, California. In Santa Rosa, he established a nursery garden, greenhouse, and experimental farms that have become famous throughout the world.
During his 55 year career, working first in Massachusetts and later in California, Burbank worked on multiple crosses of foreign and native strains to obtain seedlings, which he grafted onto fully developed plants for rapid assessment of hybrid characteristics.
In California his birthday, March 7, is celebrated as Arbor Day and trees are planted in his memory.
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