Victoria’ has not been improved upon since its creation almost 175 years ago — a testament to its superiority. The creator of this famous heirloom rhubarb was Joseph Myatt of Manor Farm in Deptford, England, a plant breeder who also created a slew of good strawberries, potatoes, peas, and more. Myatt’s ‘Victoria’ rhubarb was introduced in 1837 in honor of Queen Victoria, and in many ways, his rhubarb came to symbolize the dessert cookery of her reign: rhubarb charlottes, rhubarb fools (similar to a parfait), rhubarb compotes, rhubarb tarts, even rhubarb wine — none of which would have assumed their place in Victorian cookbooks had there been no ‘Victoria’ to cook with. Horticulturists have often claimed it was ‘Victoria’ that mainstreamed rhubarb cookery in both England and the United States.
Two physical characteristics of ‘Victoria’ that made it stand out from other varieties were its bright red color and large stems. Older heirloom varieties tended to be mostly green or, like ‘Early Champagne,’ completely green in stem color. Cooks of this period in rhubarb history were familiar with the yellow-stemmed ‘Pineapple’ rhubarb, but yellow rhubarbs often lacked good flavor. ~100 seeds per packet.