When you are buying and planting seed, there are two different kinds of seeds available, Open Pollinated (OP) or Hybrid (F1).
Open-Pollinated is when seed is pollinated naturally by insects, birds, wind, humans, or other natural mechanisms. This will produce seed that is genetically “true to type.” This means that the plant produced from this seed will result in a plant with very similar characteristics to the parent plant.
An F1 hybrid seed is the result of breeding two different species or varieties of a plant to produce a third better variety of that plant.
Let’s imagine a plant breeder observes particularly good cold tolerance in a cabbage plant but with poor disease resistance. In another cabbage plant of the same type he sees good disease resistance but with poor cold tolerance. The best plant of each type is then taken, and hand-pollinated to cross the two pure lines together and produce seed.
Each year the seed is re-sown. Eventually, every time the seed is sown the same identical plants will appear. When they do, this is known as a ‘pure line’.
If the breeder now takes the pure line of each of the two plants he originally selected, and cross pollinates the two by hand , the result is known as an F1 hybrid.
Plants are grown from the seed produced, and the result of this cross pollination would then be a cabbage that has good cold tolerance and good disease resistance.
A completely pure line can sometimes take several years to achieve.
“An F1 hybrid is the result of crossing two pure lines to achieve the desired result.”