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Historial variety descriptions Variety descriptions

Which vegetable varieties were used between 1850 and 1950? How were these varieties described? Answers can be found in the database „Historical variety descriptions“.

Historical descriptions of old vegetable varieties

The database „Historically used vegetables“ provides information on 6998 vegetable varieties described in seed and seedling catalogues of German commercial nurseries, monographs, journals and experimental reports from 1836 to 1956.

Variety descriptions, cultural and usage notes, and illustrations of vegetable species and varieties were collected as part of the survey of these historical sources.

In addition to the literature survey, a check was made to determine which seed samples are currently preserved in a European genebank or in one of the seed initiatives involved in the project.

The vegetable varieties were classified into the following categories:

Red list variety

Mentioned in historical sources, not registered as plant variety anymore and seeds are available in genebanks and/or seed initiatives.

Lost variety Mentioned in historical sources, not registered as plant variety anymore and no seed samples are traceable. 75% of the varieties examined in the project are considered lost.
Traditional variety Mentioned in historical sources and currently registered in the EU variety list. Some of these traditional varieties are registered in the EU variety list as conservation or amateur varieties.

The list of indigenous endangered and lost vegetable varieties as well as traditional vegetable varieties was established within the framework of the research project for the provision of scientific decision support "Further development of the 'Red List of endangered indigenous useful plants' for vegetables" at the Humboldt University of Berlin at the Department of Urban Ecophysiology of Plants. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) via the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) (grant number 2811HS019).