Non-hybrid Seeds?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Bruce Hopkins
Posted on: May 5, 1998

Are the seeds you sell non-hybrid (open pollinators)?

All of the seeds we sell are open pollinated varieties. This is not because we are opposed to hybrids per se, rather it because most herbs have not been subjected to hybridization because there has been no inherent advantage over the centuries to do so. A herb that propagates by seed is easily more efficiently reproduced than a hybrid that requires labour intensive cross-pollination.

Some of the asexually-propagated herbs are natural hybrids. These include some of the most important herbs such as peppermint and lemon thyme -- herbs that owe their distinctive character to a unique intermingling of genes from two distinctly different parent plants. In most cases, these hybrids cannot be reproduced by seeds reliably and they have been maintained in cultivation over the centuries by taking cuttings or dividing mother plants.

Richters does not rule out adding hybrid seeds in the future. If a new variety adds a new flavour or aroma or new medicinal property that we would not otherwise have – as was the case in the past when the first peppermint and lemon thyme were born – then, yes, Richters will add it.

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