Alice Vonk

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Alice Vonk (1908–1997) was an American floriculturist. She received the $10,000 prize for creating the whitest marigold in David Burpee's seed challenge.[1] The competition was run by Burpee's seed company, W. Atlee Burpee & Co, founded by his father Washington Atlee Burpee. The $10,000 prize makes her flower the costliest marigold in the world, and the costliest flower in the world at the time.[2]

Burpee Seeds' quest for a white marigold started 56 years before Vonk's creation. It started running in 1954, and was ended by Vonk in 1975. Before winning her prize, Vonk received $100 from Burpee seeds the previous year along with five other gardeners for having seeds that produced close to white flowers.[3] Vonk kept seeds from the lightest flowers in her garden each season, replanting for over two decades before achieving a pure white marigold that measured 2.5 inches in diameter.

Alice Vonk, born in 1908, had been gardening since she was 11 and had no formal science training.[1]


  1. ^ a b "A True Drama: the Effect of Alice Vonk on Pure White Marigolds." People, September 15, 1975. Web. September 19, 2013.
  2. ^ "Alice Vonk: Tagetes erecta 'Snowbird'." (Landscape) With Flowers. N.p.. Web. September 19, 2013.
  3. ^ "White marigold earns $10,000 for state woman". Beaver County Times. August 30, 1975.