Are any of these heirlooms?

gardeningharpist17April 14, 2010

Hello. Below is my list of tomatoes for this year, which I planted on Saturday. Are any of the following heirlooms?

Large Red Cherry

Tommy Toes

Isis Candy


Black Cherry



Romeo Roma

Chico III

Giant Oxheart

Jeff's Mystery Pink Oxheart

Early Wonder





White Beauty

Brandywine Sudduth

Cherokee Purple


Old German

Dr. Wyche's Yellow

Thanks so much!

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The ones I am familiar with that are open-pollinated (aka heirloom) are:

Black Cherry
Isis Candy
Giant Oxheart
Brandywine Sudduth
Cherokee Purple
Old German
(I think White Beauty is also OP. And there are plenty of others on your list that I'm sure are OP but I'm not as familiar with them)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Yes, many of them are OP, but I was curious as to which ones can correctly be termed "heirloom." Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 4:55PM
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The definition of "heirloom" varys all over the place. Three of your selection Juliet, Supersteak and Sungold are hybrids, altho an Op version of Sungold has been introduced. Marion (Clemson), Early Wonder (Burgess), Delicious ( Burpee) are commercial introductions OP's of 50 years or so. Some folks use "heirloom" to indicate vintage, others use it for tomatoes introduced by non-commercial sources. About the only commonality is that hybrids are excluded. You will find many if not most vendors push all OP's as "heirlooms"

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 5:36PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Black Cherry , not an heirloom, bred by Vince Sapp

Isis Candy , not an heirloom, bred by Joe Bratka

Ildi, a 2002 introduction of THompson and Morgan, felt to be of European origin, no other info known

Giant Oxheart , felt by Craig LeHoullier who got the seeds out of the USDA and sent them to Mike at Victory Seeds to be the Giant Oxheart introduced by the Livingston Seed Co, if so then it's an heirloom

Delicious, not an heirloom

Brandywine Sudduth , yes it is

Cherokee Purple , yes, it is

Old German , yes, it is

I knew the backgrounds of all above except for Ildi and wasn't sure of Giant Oxheart, but if you ever want more info about a variety I've linked to Tania's Tomato data base below which is an excellent resource.

Also, my comments above as to which are heirlooms is based on my definition of an heirloom which is a variety that existed before about 1940 when hybrids first started becoming available.

There are other definitions of what an heirloom is, no one definition is accepted, and if anyone is interested I'd suggest that they do a search here at GW b'c there are more threads about this than you can believe. LOL

I suggest that we just try to answer the question posed in this thread based on what each of us consider to be an heirloom variety. ( smile)


Here is a link that might be useful: Tania's Tomato base data

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 5:45PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If you mean the accepted definition of heirloom to be only those that have a 50 year+ documented history - a provenance - then Brandywine Suddth, Tommy Toe??, Cherokee Purple (debated by some), Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Hillbilly (if potato leaf), and maybe Old German that I know of. But there may be others on your list.

So what do you mean by heirloom? Open-pollinated is a more accurate label - 'heirloom' is mostly reduced to a marketing ploy IMO.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 5:55PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

i copied the wrong list, and the ones I don't know you can find out through Tania's website as long as they aren't hybrids, of which you've lsited several.

Heirlooms are OP but not all OP's are heirlooms.

Large Red Cherry , yes
Tommy Toes , yes
Isis Candy , no
Sungold , no, a hybrid
Black Cherry , no., I commented above
Juliet , no, a hybrid
Ildi , I commented above
Romeo Roma , off hand I don't know
Chico III , ditto, would have to research it
Giant Oxheart , I commented above
Jeff's Mystery Pink Oxheart , no
Early Wonder , I don't think so, you'd need to check intro date
Supersteak , no
Marion , I'd have to check the intro date, we grew it on the farm in the 40's
Phenomenal , no idea
Delicious , I commented above, you need to check intro date
White Beauty , I'd have to check the intro date
Brandywine Sudduth , yes
Cherokee Purple , yes
Hillbilly , yes
Old German , yes
Dr. Wyche's Yellow, not sure; I know who Dr. Wyche is, but I'm not sure of the intro date

So check Tania's site or Google for more info for at least the ones I don't know off hand.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 6:01PM
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Hi Harpist,

At WinterSown.Org I clearly state that all tomatoes are OPs unless otherwise noted. Looking at your list I can tell that you obtained most of them from WinterSown through the Your Choice Tomato SASE seed sharing program ;-)

On that page you'll also see a blurb link "What are Heirloom Varieties?" which leads to the USDA Thesaurus Definition:

Varieties whose germplasm has been conserved through the practice of retaining and passing down 1) seed or 2) vegetative propagules from generation to generation. The germplasm may be of significance to a specific region, community, culture or historic time period.

Hope this helps,


Here is a link that might be useful: Your Choice Tomato SASE

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 6:13PM
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Thank you everyone for your help. Yes, Trudi, I got most of them from Wintersown. Thanks so much!

My Hillbilly is regular leaf, so I guess it's not an heirloom.

Thanks again, everyone, for all of the information.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 6:03AM
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Hillbilly RL is heirloom. Use the link below and scroll down to see Hillbilly...there's also a Royal Hillbilly on that page but you want to look at just plain Hillbilly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sandhill Preservation tomato listings

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 7:50AM
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