Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How closely do the plants that grow from parent seeds resemble those of the parent?

If you save the plant seeds from a previous season and use them next spring, how closely do the plants that grow from these seeds resemble those of the parents?How closely do the plants that grow from parent seeds resemble those of the parent?
It depends on what species of plant you're dealing with. Many types of non-hybrid garden flowers and herbs, including cosmos, calendula, cilantro, etc. breed true to type and are easy to save seed from.

Tomatoes are fairly easy to save seeds from as well, as long as you follow a few precautions.

Seeds saved from hybrid parents may not resemble their parents very closely at all and, in fact, will be extremely diverse in their characteristics.

Here's a link to an interesting article about breeding your own ';garden variety'; of tomatoes. It explains a little bit about how plant characteristics are passed down from generation to generation.鈥?/a>How closely do the plants that grow from parent seeds resemble those of the parent?
Depends on the plant, and if there are other varieties near the plant that is producing the seeds you're saving.

Bean seeds will breed true fairly easily. Tomatoes and peppers will cross-pollinate like crazy, and what you get from the seeds will be hybrids.

Coriander breeds prolifically and consistently - nothing else around that can cross breed with it. I've been growing that, and carrots, and beans saved from seeds for years with no variation from the parent plant so far.
It depends on many factors, but the bottom line is that--just like for humans--the offspring could be the spittin' image...or you might wonder who's the really daddy. If the plant is one in which it is usually propagated from seed--a straight species--then it's likely that you will get one closely resembling the parent. It it's a hybrid or a cross of two widely varying cultivars, then betting on what the progeny will look and ';act'; like is a crap shoot.
If the parents were hybrids (cross-pollinated), the plants will not be exactly like either parent. They may be close, or entirely different.

If the parents were standards (open-pollinated), the plants will resemble the parent very closely, with variations caused by external stimuli (varying light, temperatures, etc.).
Most plants are hybrids from two different plants, but yield the desired results.

Plant a peach, apple or pecan seed and the new tree will not be anywhere as good as what it came from.

This hold true for almost all vegetables too.

Now go drink a beer and relax.

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