The Marigold in California: a supplement

Field of Tagetes patula in India

The modern marigold owes much of its development to the vision and persistence of David Burpee. If you have read “The Marigold in California”, Pacific Horticulture (October, November and December 2010) you will be aware of this. Other companies in the Lompoc Valley such as John Bodger, Glenn Goldsmith and Denholm also played an important role.

David Burpee in field of marigolds

This supplement contains more details about all their work. There are two lists of marigolds which won awards at the All America Select trials over the years. One is chronological and the other is alphabetical.

Another section deals with the results of Burpee’s prolonged production of new hybrid marigolds and how they fared in commerce over time. I have examined more than 100 years of Burpee catalogues and extracted information about the marigold and its transformation over those years.

This information is summarized in two further tables. One is an alphabetical list of all Burpee marigolds over that period. The other lists the same cultivars chronologically.

These tables are accompanied by an analysis of what can be learned from the findings.

Denis Flaschenriem, (left) John Mondry (center) and Elwood Pickering (right)

METHOD

I performed an analysis of more than 100 years of Burpee advertisements for marigolds, starting in 1887 and ending in 1998. This was possible because the director of the Lompoc Museum, Dr Lisa Renken and her team of docents very kindly made copies of old Burpee catalogues for me.

The museum is the beneficiary of the generosity of the Manfrina family, Myra and Walt. The Manfrinas had carefully collected the catalogues over the years and after Walt died, Myra donated them to the museum. There was an almost complete run, with only a few years missing.

I filled most of the gaps using the University of California at Davis’s collection of nursery catalogues with the assistance of Darryl Morison, director of special collections at Davis, and John Skarstad, archivist. After this the only remaining gaps were for 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1989.

I entered each cultivar into a database, with the year it was introduced. Every time it appeared in a catalogue I made a new entry, allowing me to see how long it remained in commerce and thus when it ceased to be advertised for sale. The total number of entries was 3310. This covered 330 cultivars.

There are small caveats about the entries. Any enterprise of this sort is prone to errors of inclusion and exclusion but I made every effort to double-check the entries as I proceeded.

One difficulty arose from sorting out collections of cultivars under cultivar names, such as ‘Mammoth Fluffy ‘Mums’, a chrysanthemum-flowered marigold cultivar in three colors or ‘Sun Giants’, a tall African variety. Not only were the individual colored flowers sold separately but in some years a collection was offered. It is possible I may have missed an occasional cultivar being sold. I do not think any such minor errors change the general shape of the findings.

It must be remembered that not every cultivar in the Burpee catalogue was bred by the firm. The overwhelming majority of their merchandise was their own but they were excellent business people and sold whatever was attractive, no matter the source.

AAS Winners Chronological

Year Name Breeder Other
1933 Guinea Gold Watkins & Simpson Gold medal
1934 Monarch Mixed Hurst
1935 Golden Beauty Hurst
1935 Primrose Queen Hurst
1935 ScarletGlow Hurst
1935 Yellow Beauty Hurst
1935 Yellow Supreme Livingston Seed Gold medal
1936 Dixie Sunshine Hastings/Burpee/PanAmerican
1937 Crown of Gold Burpee/PanAmerican Gold medal
1937 Dwarf Royal Scot Waller-Franklin Seed
1938 Chrysanthemum Flowered Waller Franklin Seed
1938 Golden West Burpee/PanAmerican
1939 Early Sunshine Burpee/PanAmerican
1939 Golden Glow Burpee/PanAmerican
1940 Limelight Burpee/PanAmerican
1940 Yellow Pygmy Burpee/PanAmerican
1941 Goldsmith Waller Franklin Seed
1941 Spry Burpee/PanAmerican
1942 Butterball Bodger Seeds
1942 Golden Bedder Burpee/PanAmerican
1942 Melody Ferry Morse Seed
1942 Yellowstone Waller-Franklin Seeds
1943 Sunkist Bodger Seeds
1944 Mammoth Mum Burpee/PanAmerican
1945 Flash Burpee/PanAmerican
1945 Real Gold Burpee/PanAmerican
1947 Naughty Marietta Burpee/PanAmerican
1948 Red Head Burpee/PanAmerican
1951 Glitters Burpee/PanAmerican
1958 Petite Gold Denholm/PanAmerican
1958 Petite Harmony Denholm/PanAmerican
1958 Petite Orange Denholm/PanAmerican
1960 Spun Gold Denholm/PanAmerican
1960 Toreador Burpee/PanAmerican
1966 Spun Yellow Denholm/PanAmerican
1967 Golden Jubilee Bodger Seeds
1968 First Lady Burpee/PanAmerican
1968 OrangeJubilee Bodger Seeds
1970 Bolero Denholm/PanAmerican
1972 Gold Galore Bodger Seeds
1973 Happy Face Bodger Seeds
1974 Showboat Ferry Morse Seed
1977 Primrose Lady Burpee/PanAmerican
1977 Yellow Galore Bodger Seeds
1979 Queen Sophia Gaboriau
1980 Janie Goldsmith Seeds
1989 Golden Gate Denholm Seed/PanAmerican Blair Winner
1999 Bonanza Bolero PanAmerican

John Mondry in field of marigolds

AAS Winners Alphabetical

Name Year Breeder Other
Bolero 1970 Denholm/PanAmerican
Bonanza Bolero 1999 PanAmerican
Butterball 1942 Bodger Seeds
Chrysanthemum Flowered 1938 Waller Franklin Seed
Crown of Gold 1937 Burpee/PanAmerican Gold medal
Dixie Sunshine 1936 Hastings/Burpee/PanAmerican
Dwarf Royal Scot 1937 Waller-Franklin Seed
Early Sunshine 1939 Burpee/PanAmerican
First Lady 1968 Burpee/PanAmerican
Flash 1945 Burpee/PanAmerican
Glitters 1951 Burpee/PanAmerican
Gold Galore 1972 Bodger Seeds
Golden Beauty 1935 Hurst
Golden Bedder 1942 Burpee/PanAmerican
Golden Gate 1989 Denholm Seed/PanAmerican Blair Winner
Golden Glow 1939 Burpee/PanAmerican
Golden Jubilee 1967 Bodger Seeds
Golden West 1938 Burpee/PanAmerican
Goldsmith 1941 Waller Franklin Seed
Guinea Gold 1933 Watkins & Simpson Gold medal
Happy Face 1973 Bodger Seeds
Janie 1980 Goldsmith Seeds
Limelight 1940 Burpee/PanAmerican
Mammoth Mum 1944 Burpee/PanAmerican
Melody 1942 Ferry Morse Seed
Monarch Mixed 1934 Hurst
Naughty Marietta 1947 Burpee/PanAmerican
OrangeJubilee 1968 Bodger Seeds
Petite Gold 1958 Denholm/PanAmerican
Petite Harmony 1958 Denholm/PanAmerican
Petite Orange 1958 Denholm/PanAmerican
Primrose Lady 1977 Burpee/PanAmerican
Primrose Queen 1935 Hurst
Queen Sophia 1979 Gaboriau
Real Gold 1945 Burpee/PanAmerican
Red Head 1948 Burpee/PanAmerican
ScarletGlow 1935 Hurst
Showboat 1974 Ferry Morse Seed
Spry 1941 Burpee/PanAmerican
Spun Gold 1960 Denholm/PanAmerican
Spun Yellow 1966 Denholm/PanAmerican
Sunkist 1943 Bodger Seeds
Toreador 1960 Burpee/PanAmerican
Yellow Beauty 1935 Hurst
Yellow Galore 1977 Bodger Seeds
Yellow Pygmy 1940 Burpee/PanAmerican
Yellow Supreme 1935 Livingston Seed Gold medal
Yellowstone 1942 Waller-Franklin Seeds

Burpee Cultivars Alphabetical

Cultivar Year
introduced
Year
last sold
Years
in commerce
African Double Mixed 1887 1935 48
Alaska 1961 1981 20
Apollo Hybrid 1979 1979 1
Aztec Mixed Colors 1976 1983 8
Big Almost White 1975 1975 1
Big Smile 1965 1969 5
Bolero 1970 1985 15
Brilliant Gem 1937 1943 7
Brown Marble 1892 1921 29
Brownie Scout 1962 1985 23
Buff Beauty 1942 1956 15
Burpee Gold 1938 1962 25
Burpee Gold Improved 1941 1950 10
Burpee Primrose 1947 1958 12
Burpee’s Best Mixture 1935 1938 4
Burpee’s Best Whites 1976 1976 1
Burpee’s First Whites 1979 1987 9
Burpee’s Giant Fluffy 1982 1985 4
Butter and Eggs 1941 1942 2
Butterball 1942 1962 21
Buttercup 1936 1938 3
Canary Bird 1941 1956 15
Charming 1936 1943 8
Chrysanthemum Flowered 1937 1938 2
Clinton 1944 1958 15
Color Magic 1961 1962 2
Compact Gold Striped 1917 1931 15
Crackerjack 1958 1969 12
Cream Puff 1968 1981 14
Crown of Gold 1937 1960 24 odorless
Crown Prince 1942 1944 3
Cupid 1943 1945 3
Cupid Golden 1962 1964 2
Cupid Orange 1962 1966 5
Cupid Yellow 1962 1971 10
Daffodil 1936 1938 3
Dainty Marietta 1962 1980 19 None from 1964 -1979
Deep Orange Lady 1977 1998 22
Deep Orangeade 1990 1990 1
Delight of the Garden 1934 1935 2
Diamond Jubilee 1967 1983 14
Disco Mixed 1991 1997 7
Discovery Hybrid Yellow 1990 1991 2
Dixie Sunshine 1937 1943 7
Double Eagle 1967 1980 14
Double Mixed 1917 1923 7
Double Pulchra 1892 1931 40
Doubloon 1967 1980 14
Dwarf African Double 1932 1937 6
Dwarf French Double 1936 1938 3
Dwarf Mexican Orange 1935 1938 4
Dwarf Orange Ball 1921 1931 11
Early Sunshine 1938 1951 14
Eldorado 1887 1938 52
Electric Light 1936 1940 5
Empress 1971 1972 2
Fancy 1937 1938 2
Fancy Frills 1959 1970 12
Fantastic 1969 1975 7
Fantastic Mixed 1975 1983 9
Fantastic Orange 1975 1981 7
Fiesta 1963 1980 18
Fire Cross 1934 1943 10
Fireglow 1957 1977 21
Fireworks 1981 1983 3 One entry 1993? error
First Lady 1968 1998 31
Flame 1960 1990 31 None from 1970 - 1990
Flaming Fire 1938 1956 19
Flash 1945 1961 17
French Compact Gold Striped 1889 1916
French Double Dwarf 1887 1914 28
French Double Mixed 1905 1934 30
French Double Tall Striped 1889 1889 1
French Dwarf Double Pulchra 1890 1890 1
French Vanilla 1993 1998 6
Frills 1947 1962 16
Gay Ladies 1969 1991 23
Gem Mix 1996 1997 2
Geraldine 1964 1969 6
Giant Fluffy 1975 1980 6 Also Giant Fluffy mixed
Giant Golden Fluffy 1958 1961 4
Giant Perfecto 1952 1959 8 Not continuous
Giant Yellow Fluffy 1958 1961 4
Gilt Edge 1937 1938 2
Gilt-Edge 1909 1909 1
Glitters 1951 1958 8
Gold Coin Hybrid 1980 1982 3
Gold Galore 1972 1985 14
Gold Lady 1970 1998 29
Gold Margin 1936 1943 8
Gold Nugget 1967 1994 28
Gold Seven Star 1974 1975 2 Crop failure
Gold Striped 1932 1937 6
Golden Ball 1935 1935 1
Golden Beauty 1935 1940 6
Golden Bedder 1942 1958 17
Golden Boy 1980 1998 19 Not continuous
Golden Charm 1936 1938 3
Golden Climax 1959 1987 29
Golden Crown 1942 1943 2
Golden Fireworks 1990 1991 2
Golden Fluffy 1959 1974 16
Golden Gate 1939 1941 3 1990?
Golden Gem 1937 1993 57
Golden Glow 1939 1951 13
Golden Hawaii 1975 1982 8
Golden Jubilee 1967 1983 17
Golden Mum 1959 1970 12
Golden Queen 1935 1943 9
Golden Ring 1959 1969 11
Golden Striped 1940 1940 1
Golden Sunshine 1939 1943 6
Golden Supreme 1940 1949 10
Golden West 1938 1957 9
Golden Yellow 1937 1941 5 1990?
Goldfinch 1980 1980 1
Goldie 1969 1982 14
Goldilocks 1952 1958 7
Goldsmith 1941 1957 17
Grand Prix Mixed 1995 1996 2
Guinea Gold 1932 1958 27
Guys and Dolls 1979 1980 2
Gypsy 1961 1983 23
Gypsy Dwarf 1962 1965 4
Gypsy Sunshine 1980 1980 1
Happiness 1948 1951 4
Happy Days 1979 1980 2
Happy Days Orange 1990 1991 2
Happy Days Red 1990 1993 4
Happy Days Yellow 1990 1993 4
Happy Face 1973 1983 11
Happy Orange 1980 1987 8
Happy Red 1980 1987 8
Happy Yellow 1980 1987 8
Harmony 1936 1958 23
Harmony Boy 1980 1998 19 Not continuous
Harvest Gold 1937 1938 2
Harvest Moon 1979 1980 2
Hawaii 1961 1974 14
Helen Chapman 1957 1962 6
Honeycomb 1943 1980 38
Hopeful 1965 1967 3
Idabelle Firestone 1941 1946 6
Improved Hopeful 1968 1969 2
Inca Hybrid 1985 1991 7 Mathilde Holtrop
Indian Chief 1959 1960 12
Jaguar 1995 1998 4
Janie Gold 1980 1985 6 Mathilde Holtrop
Josephine 1928 1938 21
Jubilee Hybrid 1985 1987 3
King Tut 1971 1981 11
King’s Ransom 1938 1942 5
Ladies Mixed 1993 1994 2 ?Gay Ladies relabelled
Legion of Honor 1894 1943 50 Syn: ‘Little Brownie’
Lemon 1933 1933 1
Lemon Alldouble 1933 1953 21
Lemon Ball 1905 1962 58
Lemon Charm 1936 1943 8
Lemon Drop 1955 1962 8
Lemon Gem 1937 1993 57 but Gap 1938 - 1972
Lemon Queen 1893 1921 29
Limelight 1940 1957 18
Mahogany Gem 1937 1938 2
Mammoth Mum 1944 1963 20 Also sold as “mixed”
Mammoth Mum Golden 1957 1961 5
Mammoth Mum Orange 1957 1961 5
Mammoth Mum Primrose 1958 1961 4
Mammoth Mum Yellow 1957 1974 18
Man in the Moon 1954 1962 9 ‘Man on the Moon’ post 1974
Man on the Moon 1971 1975 6
Marietta 1990 1990 1
Marvel Gold 1993 1994 2
Marvel Orange 1993 1994 2
Marvel Yellow 1993 1994 2 Marvel Yellow Chiffon NEW?
Mary Helen 1961 1969 9
Mayling 1944 1958 15
Melody 1942 1951 10
Miracle 1959 1972 14
Moonlight 1934 1935 2
Moonshot 1979 1980 2
Mr Sam 1963 1969 7
Mrs Lippincott 1937 1943 7
Naughty Marietta 1948 1991 44
Nearest - to -White 1956 1959 4
Nema-Gone 1997 1997 1
New Alaska 1968 1971 4
New French,Compact Gold 1887 1887 1
New Miracle 1969 1975 7
New Nugget Mixed 1976 1976 1
Nugget Supreme Gold 1990 1993 4
Nugget Supreme Mixed 1995 1997 3
Nugget Supreme Orange 1990 1993 4
Nugget Supreme Red 1990 1993 4
Nugget Supreme Yellow 1990 1997 8
Opryland Mixed 1973 1974 2
Orange 1937 1990 54 but Gap 1941 - 1990
Orange Alldouble 1932 1953 22
Orange Ball 1892 1962 71
Orange Boy 1980 1998 19 but Gaps
Orange Charm 1936 1944 9
Orange Climax 1958 1959 2
Orange Delight 1939 1943 5
Orange Fireworks 1982 1991 10
Orange Flame 1940 1956 17
Orange Fluffy 1959 1974 16
Orange Gem 1972 1972 1
Orange Glow 1962 1965 4
Orange Harmony 1942 1943 2
Orange Hawaii 1975 1982 8
Orange Jubilee 1968 1981 14
Orange King 1934 1935 2
Orange Lady 1970 1998 19
Orange Mum 1956 1970 15
Orange Nugget 1967 1994 28
Orange Peony 1966 1973 8
Orange Queen 1935 1943 9
Orange Supreme 1940 1949 10
Oriental 1936 1943 8
Oriole 1942 1951 10
Panther 1980 1980 1
Papaya Crush 1979 1980 2
Penn State 1961 1964 4
Petite Gold 1958 1980 23
Petite Harmony 1958 1979 22
Petite Orange 1958 1980 23
Petite Spry 1972 1980 9
Petite Yellow 1959 1985 27
Pineapple Crush 1979 1980 2
Pompon Dixie Sunshine 1936 1936 1
PrettyJoy 1977 1991 15
Primrose Beauty 1957 1959 3
Primrose Climax 1962 1998 27
Primrose Lady 1979 1998 20
Primrose Mum 1959 1967 9
Primrose Queen 1934 1943 10
Pulchra 1932 1942 11
Pumpkin Crush 1979 1980 2
Pygmy Primrose 1956 1987 32
Queen Sophia 1979 1997 19
Real Gold 1945 1958 14
Red 1990 1990 1
Red and Gold 1939 1987 49
Red Glow 1970 1975 6
Red Head 1948 1968 21
Red Nugget 1976 1994 19
Red Pygmy 1977 1994 18
Red Seven Star 1974 1996 23
Redcoat 1970 1985 16
Riverside Beauty 1951 1960 10
Robert Beist 1931 1951 22
Royal Crested 1979 1979 1
Royal Crown 1939 1942 4
Royal Gold 1991 1994 4
Royal Hybrid 1983 1994 12
Royal Orange 1991 1994 4
Royal Scot Alldouble 1938 1943 7
Royal Yellow 1991 1994 4
Ruffled Red 1955 1962 8
Rusty Red 1952 1985 34
Scarlet Glow 1941 1958 18
Semi-tall African Double 1937 1937 1
Senator Dirksen 1970 1983 14
Seven Star Gold 1972 1973 2 Seven Star Gold
Shaggy 1939 1943 5
Showboat 1974 1985 12 David Lemon
Signata Pumila 1931 1940 10
Signata Pumila Golden Ring 1934 1964 31
Signata Pumila Lemon Ring 1936 1942 9
Silver Crown 1940 1941 2
SilverKing 1936 1940 5
Smiles 1954 1962 9
Snowbird 1981 1991 11
Snowdrift 1990 1998 9
Sovereign 1967 1980 14
Space Age Hybrid 1979 1980 2 John Mondry?
Spanish Brocade 1979 1980 2
Spanish Gold 1939 1956 18
Spotted 1937 1941 5
Spry 1941 1971 31
Spry Boy 1981 1998 18 but Gaps
Spun Gold 1960 1973 14
Spun Yellow 1966 1973 8
Star of India 1937 1943 8
Stardust 1980 1980 1
Striped Perfection 1908 1908 1
Sugar and Spice 1985 1994 Mixed
Sun Giants 1949 1969 21
Sunbeam 1938 1938 1
Sunkist 1943 1962 20
Sunny 1950 1963 14
Sunrise 1937 1940 4
Sunset Giant 1941 1990 50 but Few gaps
Super Chief 1962 1969 8
Super Star Orange 1985 1994 10
Supreme Mixed 1937 1938 2
Sweet’n Gold 1981 1985 5
Sweet’n Yellow 1985 1991 5
Tall African Double 1936 1938 3
Tall French Double 1936 1936 1
Tangerine 1936 1981 46 but Gaps
Tetra 1940 1958 19
Tetra Ruffled Red 1964 1973 10
Texas 1964 1973 10
Tom Thumb 1940 1940 1
Tom Thumb, Golden Crown 1938 1941 4
Toreador 1960 1998 39
Truffles Mixed 1995 1997 3
Velvet Gem 1937 1938 2
Victory 1945 1956 12
Whitemost 1970 1975 6
Whitey 1961 1965 5
Wildfire 1941 1956 16
Yellow 1962 1962 1
Yellow Beauty 1935 1938 4
Yellow Boy 1979 1998 20
Yellow Brocade 1979 1980 2
Yellow Climax 1958 1997 40
Yellow Crown 1938 1942 5
Yellow Fireworks 1987 1991 5
Yellow Fluffy 1959 1974 16
Yellow Flute 1939 1943 7
Yellow Galore 1977 1985 9
Yellow Gem 1938 1938 1
Yellow Mum 1938 1970 33
Yellow Nugget 1966 1966 1
Yellow Nugget 1968 1994 27
Yellow Pygmy 1940 1969 30
Yellow Queen 1935 1938 4
Yellow Supreme 1935 1949 15
Yellowstone 1942 1953 12

Burpee Cultivars Chronological

Year introduced Year last sold Cultivar Other
1887 1887 New French,Compact Gold 1
1887 1914 French Double Dwarf 28
1887 1935 African Double Mixed 48
1887 1938 Eldorado 52
1889 1889 French Double Tall Striped 1
1889 1916 French Compact Gold Striped
1890 1890 French Dwarf Double Pulchra 1
1892 1921 Brown Marble 29
1892 1931 Double Pulchra 40
1892 1962 Orange Ball 71
1893 1921 Lemon Queen 29
1894 1943 Legion of Honor 50 Syn: ‘Little Brownie’
1905 1934 French Double Mixed 30
1905 1962 Lemon Ball 58
1908 1908 Striped Perfection 1
1909 1909 Gilt-Edge 1
1917 1923 Double Mixed 7
1917 1931 Compact Gold Striped 15
1921 1931 Dwarf Orange Ball 11
1928 1938 Josephine 21
1931 1940 Signata Pumila 10
1931 1951 Robert Beist 22
1932 1937 Dwarf African Double 6
1932 1937 Gold Striped 6
1932 1942 Pulchra 11
1932 1953 Orange Alldouble 22
1932 1958 Guinea Gold 27
1933 1933 Lemon 1
1933 1953 Lemon Alldouble 21
1934 1935 Delight of the Garden 2
1934 1935 Moonlight 2
1934 1935 Orange King 2
1934 1943 Fire Cross 10
1934 1943 Primrose Queen 10
1934 1964 Signata Pumila Golden Ring 31
1935 1935 Golden Ball 1
1935 1938 Burpee’s Best Mixture 4
1935 1938 Dwarf Mexican Orange 4
1935 1938 Yellow Beauty 4
1935 1938 Yellow Queen 4
1935 1940 Golden Beauty 6
1935 1943 Golden Queen 9
1935 1943 Orange Queen 9
1935 1949 Yellow Supreme 15
1936 1936 Pompon Dixie Sunshine 1
1936 1936 Tall French Double 1
1936 1938 Buttercup 3
1936 1938 Daffodil 3
1936 1938 Dwarf French Double 3
1936 1938 Golden Charm 3
1936 1938 Tall African Double 3
1936 1940 Electric Light 5
1936 1940 SilverKing 5
1936 1942 Signata Pumila Lemon Ring 9
1936 1943 Charming 8
1936 1943 Gold Margin 8
1936 1943 Lemon Charm 8
1936 1943 Oriental 8
1936 1944 Orange Charm 9
1936 1958 Harmony 23
1936 1981 Tangerine 46 but Gaps
1937 1937 Semi-tall African Double 1
1937 1938 Chrysanthemum Flowered 2
1937 1938 Fancy 2
1937 1938 Gilt Edge 2
1937 1938 Harvest Gold 2
1937 1938 Mahogany Gem 2
1937 1938 Supreme Mixed 2
1937 1938 Velvet Gem 2
1937 1940 Sunrise 4
1937 1941 Golden Yellow 5 1990?
1937 1941 Spotted 5
1937 1943 Brilliant Gem 7
1937 1943 Dixie Sunshine 7
1937 1943 Mrs Lippincott 7
1937 1943 Star of India 8
1937 1960 Crown of Gold 24 odorless
1937 1990 Orange 54 but Gap 1941 - 1990
1937 1993 Golden Gem 57
1937 1993 Lemon Gem 57 but Gap 1938 - 1972
1938 1938 Sunbeam 1
1938 1938 Yellow Gem 1
1938 1941 Tom Thumb, Golden Crown 4
1938 1942 King’s Ransom 5
1938 1942 Yellow Crown 5
1938 1943 Royal Scot Alldouble 7
1938 1951 Early Sunshine 14
1938 1956 Flaming Fire 19
1938 1957 Golden West 9
1938 1962 Burpee Gold 25
1938 1970 Yellow Mum 33
1939 1941 Golden Gate 3 1990?
1939 1942 Royal Crown 4
1939 1943 Golden Sunshine 6
1939 1943 Orange Delight 5
1939 1943 Shaggy 5
1939 1943 Yellow Flute 7
1939 1951 Golden Glow 13
1939 1956 Spanish Gold 18
1939 1987 Red and Gold 49
1940 1940 Golden Striped 1
1940 1940 Tom Thumb 1
1940 1941 Silver Crown 2
1940 1949 Golden Supreme 10
1940 1949 Orange Supreme 10
1940 1956 Orange Flame 17
1940 1957 Limelight 18
1940 1958 Tetra 19
1940 1969 Yellow Pygmy 30
1941 1942 Butter and Eggs 2
1941 1946 Idabelle Firestone 6
1941 1950 Burpee Gold Improved 10
1941 1956 Canary Bird 15
1941 1956 Wildfire 16
1941 1957 Goldsmith 17
1941 1958 Scarlet Glow 18
1941 1971 Spry 31
1941 1990 Sunset Giant 50 but Few gaps
1942 1943 Golden Crown 2
1942 1943 Orange Harmony 2
1942 1944 Crown Prince 3
1942 1951 Melody 10
1942 1951 Oriole 10
1942 1953 Yellowstone 12
1942 1956 Buff Beauty 15
1942 1958 Golden Bedder 17
1942 1962 Butterball 21
1943 1945 Cupid 3
1943 1962 Sunkist 20
1943 1980 Honeycomb 38
1944 1958 Clinton 15
1944 1958 Mayling 15
1944 1963 Mammoth Mum 20 Also sold as “mixed”
1945 1956 Victory 12
1945 1958 Real Gold 14
1945 1961 Flash 17
1947 1958 Burpee Primrose 12
1947 1962 Frills 16
1948 1951 Happiness 4
1948 1968 Red Head 21
1948 1991 Naughty Marietta 44
1949 1969 Sun Giants 21
1950 1963 Sunny 14
1951 1958 Glitters 8
1951 1960 Riverside Beauty 10
1952 1958 Goldilocks 7
1952 1959 Giant Perfecto 8 Not continuous
1952 1985 Rusty Red 34
1954 1962 Man in the Moon 9 ‘Man on the Moon’ post 1974
1954 1962 Smiles 9
1955 1962 Lemon Drop 8
1955 1962 Ruffled Red 8
1956 1959 Nearest - to -White 4
1956 1970 Orange Mum 15
1956 1987 Pygmy Primrose 32
1957 1959 Primrose Beauty 3
1957 1961 Mammoth Mum Golden 5
1957 1961 Mammoth Mum Orange 5
1957 1962 Helen Chapman 6
1957 1974 Mammoth Mum Yellow 18
1957 1977 Fireglow 21
1958 1959 Orange Climax 2
1958 1961 Giant Golden Fluffy 4
1958 1961 Giant Yellow Fluffy 4
1958 1961 Mammoth Mum Primrose 4
1958 1969 Crackerjack 12
1958 1979 Petite Harmony 22
1958 1980 Petite Gold 23
1958 1980 Petite Orange 23
1958 1997 Yellow Climax 40
1959 1960 Indian Chief 12
1959 1967 Primrose Mum 9
1959 1969 Golden Ring 11
1959 1970 Fancy Frills 12
1959 1970 Golden Mum 12
1959 1972 Miracle 14
1959 1974 Golden Fluffy 16
1959 1974 Orange Fluffy 16
1959 1974 Yellow Fluffy 16
1959 1985 Petite Yellow 27
1959 1987 Golden Climax 29
1960 1973 Spun Gold 14
1960 1990 Flame 31 None from 1970 - 1990
1960 1998 Toreador 39
1961 1962 Color Magic 2
1961 1964 Penn State 4
1961 1965 Whitey 5
1961 1969 Mary Helen 9
1961 1974 Hawaii 14
1961 1981 Alaska 20
1961 1983 Gypsy 23
1962 1962 Yellow 1
1962 1964 Cupid Golden 2
1962 1965 Gypsy Dwarf 4
1962 1965 Orange Glow 4
1962 1966 Cupid Orange 5
1962 1969 Super Chief 8
1962 1971 Cupid Yellow 10
1962 1980 Dainty Marietta 19 None from 1964 -1979
1962 1985 Brownie Scout 23
1962 1998 Primrose Climax 27
1963 1969 Mr Sam 7
1963 1980 Fiesta 18
1964 1969 Geraldine 6
1964 1973 Tetra Ruffled Red 10
1964 1973 Texas 10
1965 1967 Hopeful 3
1965 1969 Big Smile 5
1966 1966 Yellow Nugget 1
1966 1973 Orange Peony 8
1966 1973 Spun Yellow 8
1967 1980 Double Eagle 14
1967 1980 Doubloon 14
1967 1980 Sovereign 14
1967 1983 Diamond Jubilee 14
1967 1983 Golden Jubilee 17
1967 1994 Gold Nugget 28
1967 1994 Orange Nugget 28
1968 1969 Improved Hopeful 2
1968 1971 New Alaska 4
1968 1981 Cream Puff 14
1968 1981 Orange Jubilee 14
1968 1994 Yellow Nugget 27
1968 1998 First Lady 31
1969 1975 Fantastic 7
1969 1975 New Miracle 7
1969 1982 Goldie 14
1969 1991 Gay Ladies 23
1970 1975 Red Glow 6
1970 1975 Whitemost 6
1970 1983 Senator Dirksen 14
1970 1985 Bolero 15
1970 1985 Redcoat 16
1970 1998 Gold Lady 29
1970 1998 Orange Lady 19
1971 1972 Empress 2
1971 1975 Man on the Moon 6
1971 1981 King Tut 11
1972 1972 Orange Gem 1
1972 1973 Seven Star Gold 2 Seven Star Gold
1972 1980 Petite Spry 9
1972 1985 Gold Galore 14
1973 1974 Opryland Mixed 2
1973 1983 Happy Face 11
1974 1975 Gold Seven Star 2 Crop failure
1974 1985 Showboat 12 David Lemon
1974 1996 Red Seven Star 23
1975 1975 Big Almost White 1
1975 1980 Giant Fluffy 6 Also Giant Fluffy mixed
1975 1981 Fantastic Orange 7
1975 1982 Golden Hawaii 8
1975 1982 Orange Hawaii 8
1975 1983 Fantastic Mixed 9
1976 1976 Burpee’s Best Whites 1
1976 1976 New Nugget Mixed 1
1976 1983 Aztec Mixed Colors 8
1976 1994 Red Nugget 19
1977 1985 Yellow Galore 9
1977 1991 PrettyJoy 15
1977 1994 Red Pygmy 18
1977 1998 Deep Orange Lady 22
1979 1979 Apollo Hybrid 1
1979 1979 Royal Crested 1
1979 1980 Guys and Dolls 2
1979 1980 Happy Days 2
1979 1980 Harvest Moon 2
1979 1980 Moonshot 2
1979 1980 Papaya Crush 2
1979 1980 Pineapple Crush 2
1979 1980 Pumpkin Crush 2
1979 1980 Space Age Hybrid 2 John Mondry?
1979 1980 Spanish Brocade 2
1979 1980 Yellow Brocade 2
1979 1987 Burpee’s First Whites 9
1979 1997 Queen Sophia 19
1979 1998 Primrose Lady 20
1979 1998 Yellow Boy 20
1980 1980 Goldfinch 1
1980 1980 Gypsy Sunshine 1
1980 1980 Panther 1
1980 1980 Stardust 1
1980 1982 Gold Coin Hybrid 3
1980 1985 Janie Gold 6 Mathilde Holtrop
1980 1987 Happy Orange 8
1980 1987 Happy Red 8
1980 1987 Happy Yellow 8
1980 1998 Golden Boy 19 Not continuous
1980 1998 Harmony Boy 19 Not continuous
1980 1998 Orange Boy 19 but Gaps
1981 1983 Fireworks 3 One entry 1993? error
1981 1985 Sweet’n Gold 5
1981 1991 Snowbird 11
1981 1998 Spry Boy 18 but Gaps
1982 1985 Burpee’s Giant Fluffy 4
1982 1991 Orange Fireworks 10
1983 1994 Royal Hybrid 12
1985 1987 Jubilee Hybrid 3
1985 1991 Inca Hybrid 7 Mathilde Holtrop
1985 1991 Sweet’n Yellow 5
1985 1994 Sugar and Spice Mixed
1985 1994 Super Star Orange 10
1987 1991 Yellow Fireworks 5
1990 1990 Deep Orangeade 1
1990 1990 Marietta 1
1990 1990 Red 1
1990 1991 Discovery Hybrid Yellow 2
1990 1991 Golden Fireworks 2
1990 1991 Happy Days Orange 2
1990 1993 Happy Days Red 4
1990 1993 Happy Days Yellow 4
1990 1993 Nugget Supreme Gold 4
1990 1993 Nugget Supreme Orange 4
1990 1993 Nugget Supreme Red 4
1990 1997 Nugget Supreme Yellow 8
1990 1998 Snowdrift 9
1991 1994 Royal Gold 4
1991 1994 Royal Orange 4
1991 1994 Royal Yellow 4
1991 1997 Disco Mixed 7
1993 1994 Ladies Mixed 2 ? Gay Ladies relabelled
1993 1994 Marvel Gold 2
1993 1994 Marvel Orange 2
1993 1994 Marvel Yellow 2 Marvel Yellow Chiffon NEW?
1993 1998 French Vanilla 6
1995 1996 Grand Prix Mixed 2
1995 1997 Nugget Supreme Mixed 3
1995 1997 Truffles Mixed 3
1995 1998 Jaguar 4
1996 1997 Gem Mix 2
1997 1997 Nema-Gone 1

ANALYSIS

Classification systems

Seedsmen classify marigolds in various ways, using size and habit but also a sometimes fanciful resemblance to different sorts of flower. One basic distinction is single versus double flowered.

Some marigolds are sold as carnation-flowered and chrysanthemum-flowered. Other categories are ”peony flowered” and “pompon flowered”. In 1887 Atlee Burpee listed a “dahlia flowered” marigold, ‘El Dorado’. It lasted until 1938.

The system is widespread, and not only used for marigolds. Other flowers are treated in the same way. We see rose and anemone-flowered begonias for example and impatiens likened to roses.

It is a sort of paradox. One would think that a person grows a marigold for the sake of its own charms and beauty rather than because it resembles another flower. Kathryn White was very witty on this subject in her exquisite book Onward and Upward in the Garden.

Trade classification is quite distinct from strict botanical classification. The starting point in every case was the same: Tagetes erecta, the ‘African’ marigold, T. patula, the ‘French’ marigold and T. tenuifolia used as T. signata pumila, the miniature or ‘signet marigold’.

Here is Burpee’s classification in the commercial section of its catalogues from 1980. The initial division is between “African” (or “American” as David Burpee liked to call them) and “French”.

French

Extra Dwarf Double Dwarf Double Dwarf Single

African

Tall American Hybrids Medium –Tall American Hybrids Dwarf American Hybrids Tall American Inbreds Dwarf American Inbreds

Triploids (T. erecta x T. patula )

Dwarf Triploid hybrid Semi-Dwarf Triploid Hybrid

Signet marigold

T. tenuifolia syn. T. signata pumila

Other firms basically used the same system with minor variations. David Burpee was the leader in the field and set the standards. For many years his firm routinely offered between 40 and 50 types of marigold in every catalogue. It is a testament to the volume of seed they sold that they continued to do that. Each package was very modestly priced.

From time to time a variety would disappear. There was seldom if ever any explanation for this. The possibilities are that the variety no longer produced acceptable seed or that it no longer sold well.

A few examples

The ‘Carnation-flowered’ In 1933 the English seed company Watkins and Simpson won the gold medal at the All America Selections for ‘Guinea Gold’. This was the first carnation flowered marigold. Livingston Seed Company won the gold medal in 1935 for ‘Yellow Supreme’. Both these varieties were listed in the Burpee catalogues of the period. They continued to be available for many years but the catalogues do not indicate they were bred by another company.

The ‘Chrysanthemum’ flowered These varieties were all derived from T. erecta. As with any other double flower the extra petals came from redundant stamens. This reduced the flower’s capacity to develop pollen and thus its fertility.

The sheer profusion of marigold varieties and cultivars available provoke two principal questions: how many cultivars were offered per annum and how long did a new cultivar remain in commerce? Once these questions were answered, I then considered what the results meant.

Results

Number of cultivars for sale

The overall impression is of massive numbers, far more than even Burpee’s nearest competitors. In 1979 72 cultivars were offered for sale and in 1980 there were 82. These were the peak years. Nothing before or afterwards even got close to these numbers, but for a very long period of time the number of cultivars in commerce ranged from about 40 to 50 per annum.

This pattern started fairly slowly. From 1887 to 1931, no more than 12 cultivars were offered each year, in most cases 9 or 10. World War I did not affect the number of varieties.

After 1931, the numbers began to climb. There were 15 in 1932, 20 in 1934, 40 in 1936 and 55 in 1937. Between 1936 and 1983, the numbers never fell below 40 cultivars and at one point rose over 80.

The first time 40 cultivars were on sale was in 1936. That increased to 55 in 1937 and 67 in 1938. From 1940 to 1943 more than 60 cultivars were listed. From 1944 until 1950 more than 40 cultivars were available every year, in spite of the huge impact of World War II on manpower, fuel and basic supplies.

There were 23 years when 40 or more cultivars were offered, 18 years in which 50 or more cultivars were offered, and 8 years when 60 or more were available. Between 1985 and 1995 the numbers dropped from 51 to 16. The catalogues for 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1992 were missing but the downward trend is clear.

Duration of cultivars in commerce

The longest time any one cultivar remained in commerce was 71 years (’Orange Ball’ from 1892 to 1962). This was a great outlier but 7 cultivars were sold for more than 50 years. At the other end of the curve, 30 % of all cultivars only lasted for 1 year. Another 20 % were gone after 5 years. By the end of 10 years a total of 61% of the cultivars had gone.

Beyond 10 years the numbers dwindled. They fell from a survival of 12.1% at 15 years to 9.6% at 20 years, then to 5.7% at 25 and 30 years and finally to 1.5% at 35 to 50 years. This last number fluctuated slightly at the end but not significantly.

Frequency of new cultivars per annum

In the early days only a few new cultivars were offered but as the company grew much larger numbers came on line. At the peak up to 10 new cultivars were added each year but the average was closer to 5 or 6. That was still a most impressive number.

World War II did have an effect on this steady supply of new flowers but at a slight delay. The pipeline was full before the war began and the flowers kept coming during the early 1940s but five years after the conflict ended the number slowed very markedly to one or two per annum. This reflected all the difficulties brought on by the war.

By 1959 all these deficiencies had been repaired and the company was back to introducing 8, 9 or 10 new marigolds each year.

Another point to remember is that this was not in a vacuum. Burpee was also creating new versions of zinnia and many other annuals at the same time. The administrative consequences of such elaborate breeding programs and resulting merchandise are immense.

DISCUSSION

David Burpee died in 1980. After his death the company was sold more than once, ending up with its purchase by George Ball in 1991. Marigolds continued to be offered in great numbers until about 1995 when they dropped to 16 cultivars each year.

At present (2010), the Burpee catalogue lists 23 varieties of marigold: ‘Boy o’ Boy Mix’, ‘Boy Yellow’. ‘Chameleon’, ‘Climax Mix’, ‘Climax Yellow’, ‘Cottage Red’, ‘Embers’, ‘Fireball’, ‘Flagstaff’, ‘French Vanilla’, ‘Happy Days Mixed’, ‘Jaguar’, ‘Licorice’ ‘Nema-gone’, ’Primrose Lady’, ‘Queen Sophia’, ‘Royal Mix’, ‘Scarlet Starlet’, ‘Snowball’, ‘Snowdrift’, ‘Spun Lemon’, ‘Sugar and Spice Mix’, ‘Sunset Giants’

(The sweet marigold, ‘Licorice’, is T. lucida, and ‘Cottage Red’ is a T. tenuifolia variety.) The catalogue offers 23 varieties in all.

‘Chameleon’, ‘Cottage Red’, ‘Embers’, ‘Fireball’, ‘Flagstaff’, ‘Licorice’, ‘and ‘Scarlet Starlet’ have been introduced since 1997.

The others go quite far back into Burpee history. The ‘Climax’ series came in at the end of the 1950s. Burpee gave them that name as they were the climax of his breeding program started so many years earlier. John Mondry was the leading breeder.

‘Nema-gone’ was introduced in 1997. It capitalized on the observation that tomato plants interspersed with marigolds do not seem to be so badly infested by nematodes as other plants not near marigolds. There is not a great deal of objective evidence for this but many home gardeners believe it to be true. The volatile oil released by the marigold’s leaves may have some effect.

‘Queen Sophia’ was bred by Andre Gaboriau in France and released by Burpee in 1979. It was the All America Selection winner. Burpee introduced the ‘Happy Days’ series in 1979. ‘French Vanilla’ came in 1993.

The ‘Boy’ series was bred by David Lemon when he worked for Bodger and released by Burpee in 1980. ‘Sugar and Spice’ was released in 1985. ‘Spun Yellow’ goes back to 1966. It was bred by the Denholm company and won the All America Selection that year. The ‘Royal’ series was introduced in 1983. ‘Snowdrift’ dates from 1990. ‘Primrose Lady’ comes from 1979, ‘Jaguar’ from 1995 and the ‘Sunset Giants Mix’ is from 1941.

The white marigolds, ‘French Vanilla’, ‘Snowball’ and ‘Snowdrift’ come from the cultivars bred during the 20 year competition held by David Burpee to identify the first pure white marigold ever bred. The $10,000 prize was won in 1974 by a widow in Sully, Iowa, Mrs Alice Vonk, with ‘Snowball’, but many other competitors came very close. Each of them received a small monetary reward to encourage them to continue.

David Burpee conducted his competition in the most rigorous and transparent manner possible. No one could complain he played favorites. Each year he invited a distinguished botanist or horticulturist to travel out to Lompoc and review the new entries with him. It is said the whole program cost him more than a quarter of million dollars before they certified ‘Snowball’ as the winner.

As the ever paler marigolds were submitted to Burpee during the 20 years, a few of them were released before the final decision was reached. They had names like ‘Alaska’, ‘Big Almost White’, ‘Cream Puff’, ‘Hopeful’, ‘Man in the Moon’ (changed to ‘Man on the Moon’ after 1969), ‘Nearest to White’ and ‘Whitey’. Mrs Vonk’s ’Snowball’ was the whitest of them all.

What is missing from the discussion is any information about the differential volume of sales. The large number of cultivars persisting over several decades suggests that these old ones were reliable sellers, otherwise why continue to devote resources to them. One could compare their performance to that of a publisher’s “backlist”.

On the other hand, the public is supposedly very fickle and rushes after anything new. Here the numbers tell a slightly different story. A healthy 30% of cultivars only lasted one year. I do not know if that was because they did not sell or did not come true in the following year, thus making them useless for further commerce. An additional 20% only went as far as 2 years. This suggests that about half the stock turned over at 2 years, bringing into question the value of investing so much time and effort in developing new cultivars.

This is all seems very logical but Burpee went on doing this for 50 years, clearly a leader in the field and presumably very profitable most of the time. The answer has to be that the total volume of all marigolds sold was so high that these differences between the new and established cultivars were simply absorbed by it. That is the old “a rising tide lifts all boats” argument.

Another related aspect of all this was that the price for a packet of seeds was very modest. For many years it was under $1. Even when more expensive methods of growing the seed became necessary the price did not go up too high. Set this against the overhead of land, water, supplies, personnel, warehouse space in which to sort, pack and store the seeds and office space for administration, to say nothing of marketing and one can see just what a bargain the seeds were.

A similar exercise with the only other catalogues available, Ferry Morse, Goldsmith and Bodgers, revealed a very similar pattern on a much smaller scale.

Images reproduced by courtesy of Dr R K Roy (field of Tagetes patula) and Mark Mondry (David Burpee in a field of marigolds; John Mondry, Denis Flaschenriem and Ellwood Pickering in a field of marigolds and John Mondry in a field of marigolds)

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