Morris Improved Heading variety description
Uniform with the exception of one plant that has more crinkled leaves and a more dentate margin. It also has some pigmentation on the petioles. Leaves are green with a slightly wavy outline and wavy margin. Leaves also have moderate blistering and curve slightly upward. Plants are semi-prostrate and develop well-formed heads. Plants measure 13.5-18 inches tall and 36-48 inches wide. Average taste qualities.
Morris Improved Heading variety history
This strain is from Eric Morris of Maxton, North Carolina. His great-grandfather, Elisha Morris, and grandfather, Fairley Morris, developed the original Morris Heading collard in the 1920s. Elisha died in 1933 and Fairley devoted the 1930s to selling and promoting the variety. North Carolina State University promoted it as a “recommended” variety in the early 1950s and sales of the seed expanded greatly. Seed companies purchased seed from the Morris family for several years but then started growing and saving their own Morris collards. This particular strain may be different from seeds collected for decades by farmers or seed companies, because Eric’s father, Lawrence Morris, “tweaked” their collard a little in the late 1980s to produce a plant with less of a heading habit. That action was taken in response to comments by customers that Morris collards were developing too much of a head. Therefore it is possible that collectors have saved seeds and preserved a variety with more of a head than is being produced now by the Morris family. In 2006, Eric Morris gave seeds to Dr. John Morgan, a cultural geographer and professor of geography at Emory & Henry College, who was collecting heirloom collard strains for preservation on behalf of the USDA Accession. Seed Savers Exchange requested this variety in 2016 from the USDA Accession collection (PI 662842).
This variety is low quantity in the Seed Savers Exchange collection and is currently being regenerated at Heritage Farm in Decorah, IA.