[NAFEX] Antique vs. Heirloom
Lon J. Rombough
lonrom at hevanet.com
Wed Sep 11 17:24:52 EDT 2002
These are good guidelines, generally speaking. From these, I think we could
infer that most older perennial fruits propagated asexually would be
antiques. I still lean towards "heirloom" for those few that are propagated
largely from seed, such as certain apricots and peaches. For instance,
there is/was a white fleshed peach with red around the pit, grown as a yard
tree, or the like, in Iowa (perhaps other areas, but part of my family came
from Iowa, so I use that example) that was always grown from seed. It was
usually called something like Indian Cling or Indian Blood peach. Anyway,
all the trees I knew about were always seedlings.
What it really comes down to is that antique and heirloom could both
apply (and often are) to many old fruit varieties, but I think, for clarity,
there should be some distinction made between ones that are propagated
asexually and from seed. If nothing else, there is going to be some
variation in the seed grown types, even if it's not really obvious. When
Tom Foley was head of the NAFEX apricot group, he reported on work by the U.
of Wisconsin to identify particularly good individual trees of the Door
County apricot. They found that the 'cots had been grown from seed in
enough areas that there were definite variations showing up, either through
selection by people, or adaptation to different climates. If there is that
much difference between individuals, it could make a difference where an
heirloom came from, while a variety propagated by budding or grafting should
be the same no matter where you get the material.
So making some distinction between sexually and asexually propagated
material would be useful for someone trying to get the variety. If you want
seed of an heirloom, it's a good idea to get it from a source in a climate
as close to yours as possible. Scions could come from any source.
From: "Doreen Howard" <doreenh at ticon.net>
Reply-To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 10:09:03 -0500
To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Antique vs. Heirloom
The following are how vegetables are classified as heirlooms. The critera
were developed by Dr. Carolyn Male (heirloom expert), Craig LeHollier (also
an expert) and Kent Whealy of Seed Savers Exchange. Also, they refer to
vegetables as heirloom, and they say fruits and roses are antiques.
Any open pollinated vegetable that was in existence before 1940 when the
first hybrids were marketed is considered an heirloom. Open pollinated
means saved seeds will produce a vegetable identical to the seed donor.
Class I Open pollinated varieties that were in existence before 1940 and
were handed down from generation to generation by families, ethnic enclaves
and regional farmers. They may have never been available commercially, or
if they were, their real names have been forgotten and replaced by
Class II Open pollinated varieties in existence before 1940 that were
developed by seed companies and used by farmers and gardeners. Most of them
went out of favor commercially when hybrids appeared.
Class III The open pollinated offsprings of two heirlooms are considered by
some in the heirloom world to be legitimate heirloom varieties. Purists
such as LeHoullier and Male don't recognize them as such, but several seed
catalogs list tomatoes in this class as heirlooms.
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