Seedsmen Hall of Fame
Honoring Horticulturalists

Jesse B. Norton

Jesse B. Norton, 61, internationally known plant pathologist associated with the Imperial County Agricultural Department, died of a heart ailment on June 8, 1938 in a San Diego hospital.

He originated the "Washington-series" of asparagus which included 'Mary Washington'[2] and 'Martha Washington', the later a variety grown widely in western districts. He also assisted in the development of the 'Virginia Savoy' spinach[2] as well as a mildew-resistant type of cantaloupe.[1]

Early in his career, Norton was brought to Cornell University from the United States Department of Agriculture in 1907 by Dr. Herbert J. Webber. He was made an assistant professor with responsibility for small grain breeding, specializing in oats. One example of his breeding work at Cornell led to the introduction of 'Cornell Welcome' oats, which was introduced after his departure in 1909.[3]

After working at Cornell for one year, he returned to the U.S.D.A. Later, in 1920, he left the U.S.D.A and went to work for the Coker Seed Company, Hartsville, South Carolina.[3]

Dr. Norton had an illustrious career, and was a prominent figure in the development of blight resistant lettuce grown in California producing districts at the time of his death.[1]


  1. Obituary of Jesse B. Norton, The Chicago Packer, 18 June 1938.

  2. "112 Superb Varieties for Market Gardeners," Francis C. Stokes Seed Company, 1926.

  3. "Evolution of Plant Breeding at Cornell University: A Centennial History 1907-2006," by Royse P Murphy with Lee B. Kass, 2011.


Copyright 1998 - 2022  -- Victory Horticultural Group, LLC -- All rights reserved

Sponsor's Links

Seed Favors for your Special Event. Click here for our heirloom seed collection.