In his 55-year career at Cornell University, eminent vegetable
breeder and educator Dr. Henry M. Munger has introduced more than
fifty varieties of cucumbers alone. Of them all, he points to his
work on Marketmore 76 as his single most satisfying achievement.
“It had improved color and powdery mildew resistance...it
saved a lot of fungicide use,” he notes. We have sold more
than 22,000 packets (500 pounds) since offering #1312 Marketmore
76 on our original list in 1979.
Munger’s cucumber work encompasses whole lines of Tablegreens,
Marketmores, Spacemasters and Poinsetts. The first fusarium wilt-resistant
muskmelon, Iroquois, came out of his doctoral research at Cornell
in 1941. He also introduced Delicious 51 muskmelon. Both melons
are still widely available today. His work on mildness in storage
onions led to the joint release of hybrid Sweet Sandwich.
He has specialized in the production of cultivars, inbreds and
breeding lines carrying high levels of tolerance or resistance to
diseases. Virtually all U.S. slicing cucumbers carry disease resistance
and improved color developed in Munger’s breeding program.
Disease resistance in summer squash originated from interspecific
hybrids made at Cornell.
Probably half of all commercial carrots sold in the U.S. and Europe
are hybrids of a chance discovery Dr. Munger made in Orleans, MA
in 1953. While picking blueberries, he noticed a wild carrot plant
with pink-petaled flowers instead of white. It turned out to be
a rare male-sterile that became the mother of hybrid carrot seed
production. Through carrot hybridization, plant breeders have increased
carotene content and improved taste, uniformity and appearance.