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'Rome' (Nut Photo)
'Rome' was added to the Repository collections in 2005, but the inventory is awaiting confirmation. (The following is from Taylor, W. A. 1905. Promising new fruits. Pp. 411-412, pl LVII. In: 1904 USDA Yearbook of the Dept. of Agri. Ed. G. W. Hill).
"Synonyms: Century, Columbia, Columbian, Mammoth, Pride of the Coast, Southern Giant, Twentieth Century)
The original tree of the Rome
pecan was grown from a nut planted by the late Sebastian Rome
in his garden at Convent, St. James Parish, La., about 1840. The
source from which the nut which he planted was secured is not
known. The variety appears to have been first propagated by Mr.
William Nelson, who took scions from the tree about 1882, and
it was first catalogued by Richard Frotscher in 1885 under the
name "Rome". About 1883, the late Emil Bourgeois, of
Central, La., secured scions from the original tree and top-grafted
some seedling trees at his home on the Rapidan plantation in the
same parish. There it was christened "Pride of the Coast,"
and soon thereafter Mr. Bourgeois began its propagation in nursery
under that name. This variety yields the largest nuts of any yet
brought to notice, and has therefore been the subject of deliberate
renaming by nurserymen and seesmen more frequently than any other.
This accounts for the diversity and number of its synonyms.
The original tree of the Rome is still standing in the Rome garden at Convent, La. It has been in a state of decrepitude for several years, and now yields but light crops of nuts, many of which have imperfect kernels.
Size variable, large to very large, 40 to 55 nuts per pound, selected samples running as large as 25 per pound; form oblong or cylindrical oval, tapering gradually to the wedge-shaped apex; color grayish, often heavily splashed and spattered with purplish black over most of the surface; shell thick, hard; partitions thick; cracking quality poor; kernel often shrunken or entirely "false;" color bright, texture rather coarse and dry; flavor fair, quality good when plump and well filled, but usually quite indifferent.
The Rome tree is an erect, fairly strong grower, with rather stout bluish green young wood. It occasionally bears large crops, but is erratic in this respect, and at most points where it has been tested a large proportion of the kernels are defective. Aside from the fact that a portion of the crop is of extraordinary size, there is little to commend it to the planter.
The specimens illustrated on Plate LVII were grown by Paul E. Bourgeois, Central, La.
LJ Grauke , Research Horticulturist &Curator
USDA-ARS Pecan Genetics
10200 FM 50
Somerville, TX 77879
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