Herbert John Webber

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Herbert John Webber
Born December 27, 1865
Lawton, Michigan
Died January 18, 1946
Notable students Leon Dexter Batchelor
Influenced Howard Brett Frost
Spouse Lucene Anna Hardin
Children Eugene Frances (Webber) Morrison, Fera Ella (Webber) Shear, Herbert Earl Webber, and John Milton Webber

Herbert John Webber (December 27, 1865 – January 18, 1946) was an American plant physiologist, professor emeritus of sub-tropical horticulture, former director of the University of California Citrus Experiment Station, and the third[1] curator of the University of California Citrus Variety Collection.[2] Webber was the author of several publications on horticulture, member of numerous professional horticultural and agricultural associations, and made many contributions to this field over the course of life.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Webber was born in Lawton, Michigan on December 27, 1865 to John Milton Webber and Rebecca Ann Bradt. In 1867, the family moved west to Marshalltown, Iowa where they would remain for the next fifteen years before moving on to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1883. On September 8, 1890 Webber married Lucene Anna Hardin. The couple had four children: Eugene Frances (Webber) Morrison, Fera Ella (Webber) Shear, Herbert Earl Webber, and John Milton Webber.[4]


Webber attended Willow Hill school followed by the Albion Seminary for his primary school education. He obtained his Bachelor's of Science degree in 1889, and later Master's degree, from the University of Nebraska. In 1900 he received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Professional Life[edit]

An Orange tree planted in a courtyard.

Webber worked for the United States Department of Agriculture where he investigated orange diseases in Florida (1893–1897) and from 1889 to 1907 had charge of the department's plant-breeding investigations. He served as professor of experimental plant biology at Cornell (1907–1908), where subsequently he was acting director (1909–1910) and Professor of Plant Breeding (1910–1912) in Cornell University's New York State College of Agriculture. In 1912 he went to the University of California to be director of the Citrus Experiment Station, dean of the Graduate School of Tropical Agriculture, and professor of plant breeding. Together with Walter Tennyson Swingle he originated citranges, a hardy citrus fruit, by hybridization. He retired from active service in 1936.

Some sliced citrus fruit.


Herbert J. Webber coined the word “clone” in 1903 and was the first to use it to describe a colony of organisms derived asexually from a single progenitor. Webber’s contribution to “a more exact expression to our thoughts” found quick acceptance among scientists.


He was on the editorial board of the famous work The Citrus Industry (book), to which he contributed a lot, part of it is now in public domain.[5]

Monumental building[edit]

Webber Hall, a life sciences building on University of California, Riverside, was named in his honor.[6]

Avocado Society[edit]

Was very instrumental in arranging the foundation of the California Avocado Society in 1914.


  1. ^ Citrus Genetic Resources in California Analysis and Recommendations for Long-Term Conservation page 15
  2. ^ In Memorium, Digital version by disciple professors Tracy L. Kahn, Carol J. Lovatt, Robert R. Krueger and Jodie S. Holt
  3. ^ Dr. H.J. Webber Dies Today After Brief Illness, Riverside Daily Press, January 18, 1946
  4. ^ The California Citrograph, volume 22, number 4, 1937 (p.162)
  5. ^ The digitized version of The Citrus Industry
  6. ^ Cook, Howard S. (April 1953). "The Riverside Campus". California Monthly (University of California). 
  7. ^ "Author Query for 'Webber'". International Plant Names Index. 

External links[edit]