Walter Tennyson Swingle

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Walter Tennyson Swingle
Born (1871-01-08)January 8, 1871
Canaan, Pennsylvania
Died January 19, 1952(1952-01-19) (aged 81)
Citizenship USA
Nationality USA
Institutions USDA
Education Kansas State Agricultural College, University of Bonn
Known for Citrus taxonomy (Swingle system)
Author abbrev. (botany) Swingle
Spouse Lucie Romstaedt, Maude Kellerman
Children Stella and John (twins), Frank and Mary.

Walter Tennyson Swingle (January 8, 1871 – January 19, 1952) was an American agricultural botanist who contributed greatly to the classification and taxonomy of citrus.

Limequat is a citrofortunella hybrid created by Swingle.


He was born in Canaan, Pennsylvania and moved with his family to Kansas two years later.

Swingle married Lucie Romstaedt in 1901; she died in 1910. He married Maude Kellerman in 1915 and had four children; Stella and John (twins), Frank and Mary.


He graduated from the Kansas State Agricultural College in 1890, and studied at the University of Bonn in 1895-96 and 1898.

Contribution to US agricultural industry[edit]

He worked at the United States Department of Agriculture (1891), investigated subtropic fruits, established laboratories in Florida, became an agricultural explorer, and (after 1902) had charge of crop physiology and breeding investigations.

He made several visits to the Mediterranean countries of Europe, to North Africa, and to Asia Minor, from where he introduced the date palm, pistachio nut, and other useful plants, and also the fig insect to make possible the cultivation of Smyrna figs in California.

He also traveled to Asia, bringing back 100,000 Chinese volumes on botany to the Library of Congress.[1] Swingle developed the tangelo in 1897 in Eustis, Fla.[2]

Much of his research is published in the five volume book, The Citrus Industry, of which he took a great portion.

Monumental collection[edit]

An extensive collection related to Swingle and his life, photos and works entitled the "Swingle Plant Anatomy Reference Collection" is hosted at the University of Miami.

Selected publications[edit]

  • The grain smuts: how they are caused and how to prevent them. 1898. 
  • Diœcism of the fig in its bearing upon caprification. 1899. 
  • The date palm and its utilization in the southwestern states. 1904. 
  • Citrus ichangensis, a promising, hardy, new species from southwestern China and Assam. 1913. 
  • Citropsis, a new tropical African genus allied to Citrus. 1914. 
  • Eremocitrus. 1914. 
  • Chronologic list of the dissertations of Charles Linnaeus 1743 to 1776. 1923. 
  • New citrus hybrids. 1931. 
  • Quarantine procedure to safeguard the introduction of citrus plants : a system of aseptic plant propagation. 


  1. ^ "General Gazetteer of Two Counties and Three Passes". World Digital Library. 1522–1566. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ Morton, Julia F. (1987). Fruits of warm climates. Miami, FL: J. F. Morton. pp. 158–160. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ IPNI.  Swingle. 

External links[edit]