This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
It seems not to be realized that this is a distinct species of the Fragaria family. Torrey and Gray, and other botanists, have failed to elucidate the fact, that the mighty prairies of the West have presented us with two species entirely distinct from each other, and from all others known: the lowensis and lllinoensis. At Cincinnati, they deem the Iowa (or Washington, as often called) one of the most important for field culture, as it supplies their markets with earliest berries in abundance. It is, like "Longworth's Prolific," an hermaphrodite plant; but while this supplies the market abundantly, we have Mr. Stom's statement, that he had never seen Longworth's Prolific there, much and absurdly as the latter has been puffed by others there for its productiveness and other merits.
The Iowa is readily distinguished by its large and luxuriant light green foliage, downy beneath and on the petioles, and by its strong peduncles of large, broad, rounded, light orange-scarlet berries; their color peculiar, beautiful; rather acid; inferior in flavor; the crop a fair one for its sex, and under the disadvantage that it has to be its own impregnator.
In hardihood none can surpass it, as in its native locality the mercury sinks to 30° below zero. As a hardy, vigorous parent, it may be looked to with great interest in regard to its progeny, and I have taken much pains in the seminal production of new varieties. The Austin's Shaker seedling originated from the Iowa, and is of very large size, similar to its parent in color, and, unfortunately, more acid, soft, and spongy, and consequently not suited for market. Chorlton's Prolific is also of the same parentage, not as large, but similar in color, acidity, and lack of flavor. Both of these seedlings are, like the parent, hermaphrodite. McAvoy's No. 1 is also an Iowa seedling, of less size than its parent, similar in color, rather more acid, with little flavor, but more productive, from its being pistillate. I have grown and tested some scores of seedlings, seeking to obtain pistillate varieties, of consequent greater productiveness, and berries that possessed both sweetness and flavor. I have succeeded in both respects; and as all the varieties from the Iowa parent are remarkable for their hardihood, great vigor, and redundant growth, they may be justly deemed the most important acquisitions, as regards reliable crops, throughout the northern sections of our country.
I will now describe such of these seedlings as have been selected, and deemed worthy of being named, H. designates the hermaphrodite (called staminate) varieties, and P. the pistillate varieties.
Sirius, H., early, very large, obtuse cone, light orange-scarlet, fine flavor, the sweetest of the Iowa family; plant vigorous, very hardy, and very productive.
Seraphine, P., monstrous, obtuse cone, light bright scarlet, a splendid berry, white flesh, juicy, sprightly, pleasant flavor; plant extremely vigorous and hardy, very productive, highly estimable.
Sappho, H., very large, conical, light scarlet, beautiful, good flavor; plant very productive, quite valuable.
Diadem, P., very large, rounded, light scarlet, remarkably beautiful, pleasant flavor, suitable for ail purposes; plant very vigorous and hardy, exceedingly productive. Produces more than Wilson's Albany, or any other hermaphrodite variety.
Globose Scarlet, P., very large, nearly round, frequently 1 1/4 inches in diameter, beautiful light orange-scarlet, mild flavor, rather soft; plant hardy, very vigorous, with large, broad foliage, very productive.
Triumvirate, H., large, obtuse cone, bright scarlet, good flavor, very productive.
Triumphant Scarlet, H., very large, conical, bright scarlet, splendid, juicy, fine sprightly flavor, ripening gradually for two or three weeks; plant very hardy, vigorous, exceedingly productive.
Suprema, P., large, obtuse cone, bright light scarlet, juicy, sprightly flavor; plant tall, vigorous, robust, very productive.
Supreme Staminate, H., monstrous, obtuse cone, bright deep scarlet, good flavor, a remarkable berry; plant very vigorous, robust, tall, broad foliage, fair crop.
Prince's Late Globose, P., very large, rounded, bright orange-scarlet, very showy, the berries in large clusters, firm, ripening eight to ten days after the main crop, valuable as a late market berry; plant very vigorous, hardy, exceedingly productive.
[The Iowa is undoubtedly a good stock to work with. What is needed is to; cross it with some kind that will give its progeny firmness and flavor. Mr. Prince has sent us a lot of his seedlings for trial, and we shall take good care of them. - Ed].