Open Pollination

Definition - What does Open Pollination mean?

Open pollination is a term that refers to plant varieties that are pollinated through naturally occurring means. These plants bear seeds that will produce plants that are identical to the parent plant. Open pollinated plants are also very genetically diverse and can be more adaptable to local growing conditions. Older strains of open pollinated plants are referred to as “heirlooms.”

Open pollination can be carried out in two different ways. The first way is through an external means such as birds, insects, water, or wind. The second way is through self-pollination, which occurs when the male and female parts are contained in the same plant.

MaximumYield explains Open Pollination

As long as pollination occurs between the same varieties, the seeds produced will be true to the parent seeds year-after-year. This is in contrast to plants that have been cross-pollinated, which can have a variety of characteristics.

Gardeners often isolate cross-pollinating plants from different varieties so they do not become pollinated by another variety. However, plants such as beans and lettuce are self-pollinating and do not require isolation. The seeds from these plant types are the easiest for home gardeners to save, as they remain “true” from year to year.

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