Lost varities that someone may still grow

The Winter Banana Apples are getting hard to find.
Canada Muscat grape is hard to find .


We grew Heavy Hitter(an especially productive selection made from Clemson Spineless), Jing Orange, Red River, and Clemson Spineless this year.
The Heavy Hitter was really productive.
Jing Orange was a hit - and it stayed tender longer, on pods that I occasionally missed when picking and they got big, fast.
Red River was not all that impressive.
Clemson Spineless… was late coming on, but it was planted late, in the ‘skips’ in the row where plants died out early.


A great many varieties thought to be “lost” are still out there being grown by gardeners who’ve saved seeds, but forgotten the name of the variety of their original purchase OR have lost the labels on fruit trees. I’ve done this over and over. Many times, somewhere down the line seeds, scions, or cuttings get passed along as: “Here, grow this, I don’t remember it’s name, but its really good.” It’s name later becomes “Unknown”.
Someone decides to name the “unknown” so it now has two names. This is why some varieties are known by more than one varietal name, and the application of these different varietal names may be quite localized. Eventually someone who knows the original name may come across one of these “lost”, “unknown”, or “renamed” varieties and recognize it by it’s original name. So, there is reasonable hope to find some of the “lost” cultivars.



Very well said ! Welcome to the forum I’m looking forward to more of your posts!

Supposedly a variety called Compact Redhaven peach, a genetic sport offered by large nurseries as late as the mid-1970’s has been lost.

Don’t know the details as I’m not looking.

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I bought some, but they didn’t survive the Fairbanks winter. They’re for sale at Oikos now, but only in bulk.


My dad was a chemist for a few years at the Tampa sewage treatment plant, and we always saw a thicket of tomato plants covering the settling ponds when we visited him at work. Never saw any other plants, though.

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In this area I’ve heard the tomatoes look pretty good but the melons are really something. Cantaloupe and watermelons are everywhere. The settling Ponds here are just made from dirt. Don’t like to think of it but that may have something to do with less varities being created. People have not been using the bathroom out back in 100 years. Imagine behind those old homestead farms you would see that same stuff growing we are talking about.

Ha. And eating fruit from such ‘volunteer’ plants never killed me…didn’t notice any adverse affects. Been years ago now, but modern conveniences have not brought the average person more happiness.


On the topic of lost cultivates, my grandparents had an orchard in the New Hamburg area of Ontario. It was planted in the 1860s-80s timeframe with roughly a hundred or so trees. When they bought the farm around 1955-60, there were still 60 mature trees growing on it. Varieties of snow apples, and other cultivars. Some of which I have never been able to locate since (such as Lawrence apples, a red and green apple, that had “spots” of red in its otherwise Snow White flesh (as if someone injected the colour randomly with a needle). Wish I had become interested in collecting fruit trees while they still owned the farm. :frowning:


I grow ground nuts (Apios americana) that were a traditional Native American food. Specifically, I grow the LSU improved cultivar. They are a legume. Nearly as tasty as potatoes, healthier with better nutrition, and perennial. These should be way more popular. Super easy to grow.


Ain’t that the truth! Many have made things worse actually.



That is a familiar story to me because we don’t realize what we have until we don’t have it.


Not every thing new is better for sure. There must be a reason to do things different and I agree not everyone thinks that way. If the new way is more work or money but offers no benefit why do it? In my area you can have a lagoon if you have enough land and if you want one. You don’t want to start any horrible diseases from sewage and believe me they had them. They still have them in other countries. There is a safe way to process sewage. Right now I use a septic system which I then have pumped out every 5-10 years. They take the sewage to the processing treatment facility. They leave sewage in Ponds until it becomes safe then it goes on crops nearby. Nothing here is being wasted and everything remains safe that way. The one downside to my system is it costs money whereas if I put in a lagoon I eliminate the middle man but add responsibility of then maintaining a lagoon. It’s pretty gross what was happening in this country 100 years ago. People used the bathroom everywhere and sometimes using an outhouse but it wound up in ground water which wasn’t good at all. The common sense wasn’t there and the people up stream contaminated each other’s water supply and worse. That’s why sewage began being handled the way it is which is an improvement. Many of these systems like the health department started because people were inconsiderate or ignorant of what right and wrong was. It doesn’t apply to most people but you always had that 10% who dumped sewage in the water supply or worse. I’m thankful the government handles that. Literally I have seen big farms with huge beef or dairy feed lots dumping cow sewage in a ditch uphill from someone’s water. Sometimes people do what they can get by with without thinking of your well or Springwater or fish pond or whatever.

That ground nut project sounds great please post more on that when you have some time. Would like to see photos , what you do to cultivate and process them. We have a huge vole problem here that has been a problem with my Jerusalem artichokes, peanuts, potatoes and other things.

I will check my bean inventory to see if I have the beans that produce the multi colors. I know I’ve heard of them and I think a grower who goes by the posting name of Paquebot may have been a supplier. He gave away a lot of small packs of tomato and bean seeds and I may have an old small pack of the beans mentioned in the OP. If so I’ll start growing them out if they germinate. :crossed_fingers:

I don’t know whether these sources are “real.”

  • I have purchased other varieties from Maple Valley Orchards, and I believe their claims to offer scionwood for Winter Banana.

  • Here’s a European registry of orchardists claiming to propagate Winter Banana. Many are located in the US.

  • Cummins Nursery in NY will offer bare-root trees two years out for 2023.


I just placed an order with Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center and noted that they are selling a greasy bean that produces three colors of beans in one variety. Name is Bertie Best Greasy Bean.


I am a cane berry nut of sorts as a hobby. One that interests me is a thornless blackberry called ‘Thornfree’ it was developed in 1966 in Maryland. I believe that a neighbor lady had it when i was a child. As kids we were amazed by the lack of thorns. The berries were large and fantastic. Nothing else compared…not even close.

Here is where the story gets strange… You cannot buy this variety in the US now… but it is very widely grown and sold over Europe, Russia, Czech Republic etc. I have translated tons of youtube videos and am still amazed at this cultivar and how it thrives so well everywhere. Yet i cannot put my hands on it. The closest that i got was last year someone needed help identifying a blackberry that their grandfather grew and is still growing on the family farm. The dates didnt match for my ‘Thornfree’ because of the late 1950s date but i do think its amazing that with cane fruits you can pass down canes for easily 100 years as long as you keep propagating.

Perhaps in a yard or farm somewhere in the US someone is growing this variety?

My only option is to smuggle it out…which i find to be crazy as it was developed here in the US…but i cannot import it back.

Help me if you can…


Plants were .60 each when my neighbor must have bought them.


I got Darrow from a friend, and I have seen boysenberry for sale. The others, I would love to have access to try.


My grandmother LOVED little greasy beans. She cooked them all the time when I was young and would break bean up and dry them on thread. I would help her do that all during my school day. She called them shucky beans.