What does the term 'F1 Hybrid' mean?
Posted by Dobies Staff on 24 June 2013 11:52 AM
The term F1 Hybrid indicates that a particular seed is a first filial generation variety.  

The majority of the lower cost flower and vegetable seeds we sow come from open pollinated crops.  Such  crops are either insect , wind or self pollinated and produce seed possessing all the inherent characteristics of the parent.  Plants grown from such seeds may give variable results according to their genetic make up, often producing interesting differences in shade and/or cropping characteristics.   

To produce an F1 Hybrid plant, the breeder will have a particular objective in view.   For example where only dwarf or very tall varieties are available for a particular plant, the breeder may want to produce a medium sized variety, or to produce a plant with pink flowers where only red or white have been available.   There may be other objectives such as those relating to size, form, taste, smell, early/late maturing, disease or pest resistance. 

The F1 Hybrid will be produced from two stable parent lines, a male parent and a female parent.   Each of these lines will contain certain characteristics which the breeder knows when crossed will produce the desired outcome.   This can take many years and a great deal of experimentation to produce each of the parent plants and to ensure they are genetically as uniform as possible.   

Each parent line will then be grown in isolation in an enclosed greenhouse environment away from any other sources of pollen.  The pollen bearing structures inside the female plant are removed to prevent self fertilization and then hand pollinated by brushing the ripe pollen from the male plant onto the stigma of the female using a fine brush.    The resulting seed from this plant are F1 seeds and plants raised from it should be uniform in size, colour, form, habit, maturity etc. 

It takes many years to produce such seed to the stage where it can be offered for sale.  The work involved in producing it is extremely complex, labour intensive and very expensive, and this accounts for its higher cost and lower seed count.
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