90 days, indeterminate
— The plants of 'Magnus' are a potato leaf type that produce six to eight ounce, oblate, pink fruits. This combination of pink fruits on a potato leaf plant is somewhat rare. Additionally, the fruits are quite smooth, attractive, and have an excellent balanced flavor.
Developed by the Livingston Seed Company
, it was introduced in their 1900 seed catalog as follows:
"This very distinct and most promising new variety, of the color of Beauty and Acme, is our latest addition to the Tomato family. It is thicker, heavier, and more solid than either of the above, making it easily the most handsome sort in cultivation. It is unsurpassed in quality and in the production of fine, large fruits. While perfectly adapted to main crop planting, yet it matures so quickly that it will take first rank for early market. The form is perfect, uniform, large and attractive. Flesh is very firm. It is robust grower, with short joints, setting its clusters closer together than most varieties, and is therefore a heavy cropper. The fruits are usually very deep from stem to blossom end, many of them being almost globe shaped. It ripens evenly, does not crack about the stem, and the flavor is most desirable. We have Tested it for Several Years for Staking up in the Open Field, as well as for Forcing in Greenhouses, and we believe it to be Entirely Unequaled for such Purposes. We offer it in the expectation that it will add to our reputation as introducers of New Tomatoes."
Eighteen years after its introduction, they further exclaimed:
"Livingston's Magnus is unsurpassed in quality and in the production of fine, large fruits. While well adapted to main-crop planting, it also takes first rank for early market purposes. The form is perfect, uniform, large and attractive; quite deep through from stem to blossom end. The flesh is very firm. A robust grower, with short joints, setting its clusters closer together than most varieties, and is a very heavy cropper. It has broad foliage which prevents sunburn in hot sections. Ripens evenly, does not crack about the stem. For staking up in the open field, as well as for forcing in greenhouses, is fully equal to any for such purposes."
By the later part of the twentieth century, 'Magnus' had all but become extinct in the seed industry and unavailable to home gardeners. Through the efforts of Craig LeHoullier
and Carolyn Male, they located seed, accession number NSL 27381, stored within the National Seed Storage Lab in 1994.
The seed sample was so old that it was nearly sterile. One seed germinated with the correct leaf structure and was grown, nurtured, and eventually shared with seed savers. Our original seed is from this stock and was sent to us by Craig in 2003. Each packet contains approximately 20 seeds.