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Theodore Luqueer Mead (Feb 23, 1852 – May 4, 1936) was a united states naturalist, entomologist and horticulturist. Being an entomologist he discovered greater than 20 new types of United States butterflies and introduced the Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado towards the wider scientific world. Like a horticulturist, he’s most widely known for his pioneering focus on the growing and mix-breeding of orchids, and the development of new types of caladium, bromeliad, crinum, amaryllis and hemerocallis (daylily). Additionally he introduced many new semi-tropical plants, particularly palm varieties, into The United States. Lately an extensive historic biography of his existence and occasions continues to be printed.
The Mead family was initially from England his mother (nee Luqueer), a descendant of Nederlander Huguenot stock. Mead was created at Fishkill, New You are able to to Samuel H. Mead and Mary C. Mead called the grand son of Rob Mead, a properly-known New You are able to wholesale grocer, who in 1838 had built and resided within the Second Avenue Manhattan house, now known as the Isaac T. Hopper House. Schooled in the usa as well as in Europe, where he learned French and German and studied the classics, he created a deep curiosity about natural sciences from your young age which was strongly encouraged by his parents.
His first interest is at butterflies, so that as a youth he apprenticed underneath the guiding influence of William Henry Edwards, author from the monumental five volume standard text in those days, “The Butterflies of North America”. In 1871, Edwards recommended that Mead, aged 19, vacation to Colorado using the task of exploring and finding new butterfly species within the Colorado Rockies.
Over 20 species a new comer to science were collected by Mead about this trip, and three named by Edwards in the recognition still carry his name: Colias meadii (Mead’s Sulphur), Speyeria callippe meadii (Mead’s Silverspot) and Cercyonis meadii (Mead’s Wood-Nymph).
Mead’s butterfly understanding and expertise increased to this kind of extent he was handed the task of collating the butterfly breakthroughs all the Wheeler Survey expeditions in Colorado, Utah, Boise State Broncos and Arizona from 1871 to 1874 and submitting the outcomes included in the final are accountable to the U . s . States Government.
In the finish of his collecting amount of time in Colorado, in September 1871, he heard talk about an unusual scared forest and rock formation at Florissant and visited on horseback to research. Realizing the scientific need for the website, he collected 25 lbs. of compressive shale fossil rocks that contains insects leaving and sent these via Edwards to Samuel Hubbard Scudder, a Harvard College paleontologist, whose publications and lectures after analyzing the fossils alerted all of those other scientific community for this important site, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
Mead attended Cornell College like a newcomer in 1874 and graduated in Civil Engineering in 1877. Within this year he offered his extensive butterfly collection towards the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and switched his focus on horticulture. He ongoing to operate at Cornell after graduation doing research in natural history, which rapidly grew to become the love. Mead was mixed up in Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Cornell along with a major driver in the making of the very first dedicated chapter house for that fraternity. He counted fellow student and fraternity brother Louis Agassiz Fuertes, the famous bird artist, among his nearest buddies.
Still uncertain regarding his future vocation, in 1878 Mead and the parents launched into a six-month lengthy entomological and nature visit to California and also the Western States, travelling by steamer from New You are able to via Panama or more the coast to Bay Area, coming back via Salt Lake City and Chicago. Epiphytes, cacti and many new types of butterflies were collected including one he named, Gaeides editha (Edith’s Copper), after Edward’s oldest daughter Edith, whom he later married in 1882.
Mead had first visited Florida in 1869 on the butterfly collecting trip, where he’d effectively taken his rarest specimen near Enterprise – a lady of Papilio calverleyi just one other specimen of this type had have you been found before. He considered the weather there well suited for the growing of semi-tropical plants, so after marriage he gone to live in Eustis, Florida where his father had bought him an orange grove and land to build up and also be other plants. Earnings will come from citrus and also the growing of other cash crops for example pineapples, departing here we are at his experiments in horticulture.
In 1886, he purchased 80-five acres in Oviedo, Florida, near to Lake Charm where orange grove land was more fertile, selecting an area alongside Edith’s aunt Mary. She’d formerly married Dr. Henry Promote who owns the Clifton Springs Sanitarium in New You are able to Condition, and also the couple were winter people to the river Charm area.
At Lake Charm Mead increased many palms from seed and hybridized orchids, bromeliads, crinum and then, caladium, amaryllis and daylilies. He established a powerful friendship with Henry Nehrling of Gotha, Florida that he collaborated on the majority of plant experiments.
Citrus in orlando did well before the Great Freeze of 1894-5. Many growers abandoned their groves entirely, but Mead recognized that underground artesian water in a constant 70 levels might provide respite from frost and permit citrus trees to outlive freezing temperatures. His engineering background brought him to postulate that overhead water irrigation from the trees hanging with fruit can keep the fruit protected against damage at 32° inside an ice cocoon it doesn’t matter how low the mercury fell. He effectively covered an acre of oranges, installed a pump and irrigation system, and demonstrated the idea, the very first known description of the technique still used today.
Mead’s method of hybridization ended up being to make an effort to create new kinds of plants of sufficient novelty or improved characteristics to ensure they are worth commercial introduction, set up hybridization was difficult, for orchids, or easy, for daylilies. Within this work, he applied an extensive scientific approach along with meticulous record-keeping. He didn’t seek publicity for his efforts, and based on Henry Nehrling, would be a more accomplished hybridizer of plants than Luther Burbank.
In those days orchid seed germination was typically a a guessing game affair, and also the single greatest factor stopping orchid growing motionless from as being a wealthy-man’s hobby to some business where money might be made. Irregular and irreproducible germination seriously hampered the rate and rate of success of Mead’s hybridization efforts, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to wait patiently 10 years before a brand new orchid bloomed the very first time, in a single instance taking 17 years. But Mead would be a patient man, employing scientific concepts and keeping detailed and careful notes. His horticultural notebook within the Michael A. Spencer Collection on Theodore Mead, Special Collections and College Archives, College of Orlando, lists several 1000 crosses in addition to info on all his other plants. Additionally, he photographed a lot of his new creations.
He would be a frequent cause of The Orchid Review, a diary from the Royal Horticultural Society who also keep up with the Worldwide Orchid Register, and authored about numerous crosses towards the journal. In 1904 he reported Cattleya bowringiana x Cattleya forbesii and Cattleya maxima x Cattleya schilleriana as germinating in The month of january 1894 and blooming in The month of january 1904. Both of these hybrids were put into the register in 1904 as formally originated by Mead, and named in recognition Cattleya Meadii and Cattleya Oviedo, correspondingly. The Singapore 30c stamp from 1991 carries sign of Cattleya Meadii.
Mead’s greatest contribution to orchidology, after over twenty five years of orchid growing, came when Lewis Knudson of Cornell College contacted him for advice and assistance in experiments he was performing associated with the potential non-symbiotic germination of orchid seed. At that time Mead had recognized that germination rates might be made better inside a sterile and temperature-controlled atmosphere similar to clean room conditions inside a laboratory. Knudson’s breakthrough involved using sterilized agar that contains nutrients to attain reproducible orchid seed germination.
It’s been mentioned to be doubtful whether Knudson could have been effective without Mead’s inputs and donation of viable ripe orchid seeds, so perhaps he must have been credited like a co-discoverer. Improved versions of Knudson’s solution are utilized today for orchid seed germination, and also the accomplishment was the catalyst for that emergence from the orchid industry as you may know it today.
Within the 1920s he was the very first American to hybridize bromeliads and introduced many new representatives of countless bromeliad genera, for example Aechmea, Ananas, Billbergia, Crypthansus, Guzmania, Hohenbergia, Nidalarium, and Tillandsia. He hybridized the billbergia genera extensively and sent his hybrids towards the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to Nehrling and with other growers. For several years Mead exchanged seeds and plants with E.O. Orpet and that he introduced into California Billbergia xmeadii (a mix between Billbergia nutans and Billbergia porteana, sometimes also called Billbergia ‘Theodore L. Mead’), which grew to become among the favorite billbergias of western growers.
Mead grew to become the very first person ever to produce a bromeliad intergeneric mix, selecting cryptanthus beuckeri and crossing it with pollen in one of his favourites, billbergia nutans, to create the very first cryptbergia, xCryptbergia Mead.
Mead was always fascinated with bulbous plants and also the magnificence of floral displays using their cut flowers. Sometime around 1890, he acquired a sizable and extensive assortment of around 80 crinum species from your British collector in India and hang about hybridizing them, producing the hybrids Crinum Kircape around 1894, a mix of C. Kirkii a species from Zanzibar, and C. Capense from Nigeria, and Peachblow around 1900, a plant with tall stems and big, pink-white-colored, scented blooms.
Both Mead and Nehrling hybridized caladiums and produced a large number of new and highly colored fancy-leaved cultivars Nehrling growing them commercially within their thousands. Mead favored hybridizing the bizarre as well as in 1920 he entered the narrow-leaved species, C. albanense, C. speciosum and C. venosum, using the standard caladium varieties to produce the “arrow and lance” type caladium, getting intriguing narrow strap-leaves and dwarf growth habits to some race of caladium that also possessed our prime coloration and patterns from the bigger fancy-leaved forms.
With orchid crossing visiting an finish, Mead devoted increasingly more attention from the breeding of amaryllis (hippeastrum), being greatly helped by Nehrling, who’d an excellent collection and permitted Mead to consider what he wanted when it comes to pollen for his experiments. Examples with only a hair line color around each petal were intercrossed to create nearly white-colored varieties having a narrow border around each petal. His hybrid red and white-colored striped ‘Mead-strain’ amaryllis also grew to become the bulb preferred by many American southern gardens within the 1940s and 1950s.
The American Amaryllis Society’s yearbook for 1935 was focused on Mead in recognition of his pioneer use hybrid amaryllis plants, as well as in 1937 the Worldwide Bulb Society awarded Mead The Herbert Medal for his contributions in evolving the understanding of bulbous plants.
Mead was an earlier hybridizer from the daylily and lots of crosses were created throughout the 20s and 30s. Just one however, “Chrome Orange” registered in 1933, did he consider sufficiently novel as well as outstanding color for commercial introduction.
Mead married Edith Katharine Antill Edwards at Coalburg, West Virginia in 1882. Their only child, Dorothy Luqueer Mead, was lost to scarlet fever, aged 4, in 1892.
Mead’s oldest brother, Samuel H. Mead Junior, died of the accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound towards the mind in New You are able to City in 1875, aged 27.
Theodore Mead died on May 4, 1936 and it is hidden in Greenwood graveyard, Orlando.
Mead Botanical Garden, opened up in the winter months Park, Florida in 1940, is devoted to his memory.
Media associated with Theodore Luqueer Mead at Wikimedia Commons