When pollen from one plant variety is used to fertilize the flowers of a different variety, the resulting seed will produce a hybrid variety. The resulting plant (known as F1 hybrid) will have characteristics from both of its “parent” varieties. Not all hybrids produce good results, but sometimes these cross-bred plants will have superior flavour, shorter growing season, cold-hardiness or immunity to disease. It should be said that in our growing area, food produced by some hybrid varieties will be of superior quality to the open pollinated varieties available on the market. Grapefruits are the result of crossing pomelos and oranges – all grapefruits come from hybridized trees. Hybridization sometimes occurs naturally – typically in close geographical areas between two similar, but distinct species. The down side is that hybrid plant varieties will not produce seeds of a predictable or reliable quality.

If pollen from a hybrid is crossed with a non-hybrid variety, the result is referred to as F2 hybrids, indicating a second generation of the process.

Hybridization is altogether different from genetic modification. Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEO) have been modified by the genes of a separate species. There are many concerns about the results and ethics of genetic modification. Unlike hybridization, genetic engineering cannot occur without human intervention. To the best of our knowledge, West Coast Seeds does not carry or sell any GEO products.

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