Prior to the introduction of hybrid seed and open pollinated (op) seeds, the value of yield was low. With the ever increasing population, food was becoming short. This shortage of food made scientists devise new methods to increase the productivity of seeds so as to satisfy the growing demands for food.
Scientists discover the method of cross breeding two different varieties of the same plant.
This method is known as hybrid method and the offspring of these parents of different varieties from the same plant are known as hybrid seeds. However, hybrid seeds and open pollinated seeds are not the same. There exists a stark difference between the two but the common thing to remember is how to take care of seedlings so you can have successful germination of seeds and have maximum from the little seeds..
What are Hybrid seeds?
Hybrid seeds or F1 seeds are a result of cross pollination. To obtain such hybrid seeds, pollinators and seed breeders would cross two types of the same plant. This means that the pollen is derived from the male flower of one plant and transferred to the female flower of a different variety of the same plant. The pollen is distributed all over the female flower and once the pollination of the female ovaries begins, the ovaries will swell and a fruit will be born. The seeds in such a fruit are known as hybrid seeds.
When compared to non-hybrid seeds, hybrid seeds have a much better chance of survival and the yield is also much higher. This is because the seeds in such hybrid offspring carry the genes of both their parents and hence, they are enhanced in almost every way. However, hybrid seeds, though they can be saved, often the offspring may not produce the same type of fruit. In a garden catalog, hybrid seeds are often named as F1 seeds.
Corn, kale, tomatoes etc. are a few hybrid seeds examples.
Hybrid flower seeds are also very popular among horticulturalists. Given the fact that they are offspring of two varieties of plants, they are very pleasing to the eye. The most popular hybrid flowers are roses and tulips. Orchids are also another favorite hybrid flower of flower enthusiasts.
What are OP seeds?
Often, there is a misconception that hybrid seeds and open pollinated (OP) seeds are one and the same. But that is a completely false notion.
In Hybrid seeds, the offspring produced may not be similar to its parent plant. However, in OP seeds, the offspring here shares the exact same genetic material as its parents and hence, it will be a completely identical fruit or flower.
The parents of OP seeds are pollinated by natural means such as by bees, wind, flies etc for years on end. Here, there is no artificial or assisted reproduction as in hybrid seeds. SO OP seeds can be considered as the most natural seeds available. If the plants of OP seeds are cross-pollinated, they result in hybrid seeds.
OP seeds may also be considered as Heirloom seeds if no alteration has been made to the method of pollination in these seeds right from olden days.
Peas, beans, tomatoes etc. are a few OP seeds examples.
Since op flowers are not a product of different varieties, they are an exact replica of their parents. For example, the op flower seeds from the red petunia will give offspring that look exactly as the parent. The colour of the petals, the size and shape of the stems and leaves will be very similar to the parent plant
What are the benefits of hybrid seeds?
Hybrid seeds are used for its many benefits. Some of the most important benefits of using hybrid seeds are:
1- Hybrid seeds are safe:
Unlike HYV seeds, Hybrid seeds are comparatively safer. This is because the process of pollination does not involve any fundamental change to the plant;s genetic make-up. There is no risk of mono-cropping since the plants produced may not bear resemblance to their parents.
2- Hybrid seeds are pest and disease resistant:
One of the most important benefits of seeds is perhaps its ability to resist diseases. The simple reason for this is that a disease resistant plant can easily be bred with a plant which has little disease resistance and hence, its offspring will be a disease-resistant plant. Such plants are able to easily resist diseases such as blight and other diseases.
3- The yield in hybrid seeds is much higher:
When hybrid seeds are used, the yield is much more compared to open pollinated seeds. This is because hybrid seeds were created with this exact same purpose; to increase the yield of crops.
What are the benefits of OP seeds?
Op seeds come with numerous advantages and benefits. Some of them are:
1- OP seeds are self regulating:
With OP seeds, the pollination is carried on naturally by means of nature. Thus, the farmer or the pollinator need not interfere with the process and can save valuable time and money.
2- OP seeds bear the exact same taste as its parents:
With hybrid seeds, there may be a reduction in the taste and flavour of the fruit. But with OP seeds, the taste and feel of the fruit or flower will be identical. It may be enhanced but will not be far away from its parents.
3- OP seeds act as a seed bank for the future:
Unlike hybrid seeds that need to be bought for each sowing season, op seeds can easily be stored in bulk. Seeds of corn, tomatoes, beans and many other non-hybrid plants do not require a huge amount of expenditure since these seeds can be stored either in a proper seed vault or in any other place as determined by the agriculturist
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Q1- Are Hybrid seeds and HYV seeds the same?
Ans: No. HYV seeds and hybrid seeds are different because in HYV seeds, there is alteration in the genes of the plants while this is absent in hybrid plants.
Q2- Can hybrid seeds be organic seeds?
Ans: Yes, Hybrid seeds can be purely organic seeds.
Q3- Which type of seed is available for a new gardener?
Ans: For a new gardener, it is recommended to use hybrid seeds.