A Cross Between Berries
Today is the anniversary of the death of the plant hybridizer Rudolph Boysen who died on this day in 1950.
In the 1910s and '20s, Boysen had been playing around with plant genetics. He worked on an 18-acre farm owned by John Lubbens in Napa Valley. On one June morning, Boysen took a walk along a creek bank to inspect some of his new berry creations. Boysen was astonished when he saw that one of the vines bore fruit that was almost two inches long. The fruit would become known to the world as the Boysenberry.
Boysenberries are similar to blackberries but have a larger, juicier, and sweeter fruit. The Boysenberry is a cross between the loganberry, the raspberry, and the blackberry. In 1927, Boysen advertised them as "the sensation of the 20th Century."
The grower, Walter Knott, had been looking for new varieties of berries, and when he got some of Boysen's plants, he knew it was the berry he had been looking for over the past decade. Knott gave Boysen credit by naming the plant in his honor. But, Knott managed to make an empire for himself with the proceeds - establishing the world-renown Knotts Berry Farm. As for Boysen, he never earned a dime from the Boysenberry.