Vilmorin, Dona F1, Rebelion F1, etc.
I have thought of putting this information at the end of a
recent thread on "Dona F1" but decided to separate it as
there is also a lot of material of more general interest.
First, it should be recognized that Vilmorin is a large
multinational corporation. They have interests and lines of
business all over the world. For gardeners, however,
this can be to advantage because they provide a lot of
information with excellent value.
For example, I've come across this:
which is a catalog of much of their line of tomato seeds,
with descriptions of each one. Clearly intended for industrial
and commercial production, Dona is not included, as are not a number of other varieties that Vilmorin sells as well.
There is also this:
which is a brochure on an apparently different line of
commercial tomatoes just for Italy.
I encourage readers to download and peruse both of them.
In the first brochure a couple of pages are devoted
to promotion of the 37 varieties (yes, 37!) catalogued
later, then something about open field cropping and
It then goes on to describe each variety and this is where
I get a little bemused. Almost all of the advantages stated
are qualities such as:
Good fruit size
Resistance to cracking
Uniform red color
Very good shelf life
Only four of the descriptions bother to say that the tomato
actually tastes good. This indicates what the priorities really
are for commercial production and, of course, none of them
is described as tasting bad.
The document ends with a long section on "Diseases and
Physiological Accidents" A lot of those are conditions I've
never seen and hope I never do; some I've never even
heard of before.
The Italian document describes 15 varieties intended for
fruiting, most of which are not included int the other list,
and one rootstock. You see, the big deal now with tomatoes,
at least in commercial production, and melons, is grafting.
One variety here that caught my attention because I had
earlier seen it mentioned elsewhere on the web is Rebelion
F1. I don't know where to get it but would like to try. This is
one that they say tastes good, "Ottimo sapore, pieno, con
polpa molto consistente a maturazione rossa". Great flavor,
with consistent ripe, red flesh. They are apparently proud
of it as they give it a lot of space and a lot of words. It seems
to be a development of the long-known heirloom variety,
Marmande, as I suspect Dona also is, though much older.
A suggestion I saw elsewhere but can't verify is that Vilmorin
is engaged in a program of developments from Marmande
and that this is one of their successes. Apparently there has
been a series of such creations but I have not yet found out
about any others.If anyone here knows more about that or
knows where to get seed, please add your comments.
My last point here is that Vilmorin, besides their interests in
commercial production, does maintain good support for
individual gardeners, both on the web and in distribution of
their seeds and other products. Unfortunately this is limited to
P.S.- I have found that Rebelion F1 is available in packets at
6 Euros from Graines Baumaux. Sadly, they won't ship to the
US but existence of seed in packets is a good sign.