A Terra Ceia man is being inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame 49 years after his death, Florida Citrus Mutual announced this week.
T. Ralph Robinson (1876-1967) was a native of Syracuse, N.Y., but moved to Terra Ceia in 1910. A graduate of Syracuse University, he went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1901 working in plant physiology investigations. He spent more than 30 years working on the development of new citrus varieties, managing test plantings in 25 different sections of the state. He was primarily responsible for the commercial production of Orlando and Minneola tangelos, and the Robinson tangerine was named for him because of his expert work in citrus breeding.
He was part of a team of scientists who were among the earliest to experiment with cross-pollination in citrus to develop new varieties. He was a past president of the Florida State Horticultural Society and his biography is listed in “American Men of Science” and in “Who’s Who,” along with approximately 80 titles of papers he wrote on horticultural subjects.
Robinson will be inducted into the Hall on March 10, 2017, at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.