Winter Rhubarb, Culture and Marketing pp. 7-8 (1915)
Reginald Bland

In about 1895 Mr. Luther Burbank introduced a winter growing rhubarb from Australia, where it was known as Topp's Winter Rhubarb. About five years later the stock resulting from his experiments was sold by him to the trade in 1900, under the name of Burbank’s Crimson Winter Rhubarb.” I am unable to find any record of Mr. Burbank’s actual experiments in this connection, but subsequent study of the plant has proved that it is not a hybrid.

It is evident that a good selection was made from Topp's Seedlings, being thereafter fixed in the usual manner by root division. The plant so produced had a wonderful potential value and California is certainly greatly indebted to Luther Burbank for its introduction.

This is evidently a distinct species—it differs from the Summer varieties of rhubarb in several important characteristics. The principal physical difference is in its root system. The hitherto familiar varieties have a thick, fleshy lump of root substance, formed very close to the surface of the ground, from which the crowns originate, the annual feeder-roots forming a distinct system. On the other hand, with Winter Rhubarb the fleshy substance of the central root extends gradually into the main feeders, giving a long, tapering habit to the permanent root. This is evidently the basis of its most important and valuable characteristic, that of perpetual growth. Whereas in other varieties the life of the entire plant retreats in the fall to the fleshy lump of root, which then becomes dormant for the winter, in Winter Rhubarb there is no actual dormant period.

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