Last Updated: February 25, 2019

Definition - What does Hybrid mean?

A hybrid is the offspring from reproducing two individual varieties or species.

Most often hybrids are the intentional breeding by humans for improved varieties, but it can also take place naturally.

MaximumYield explains Hybrid

The development of hybrids is common for horticultural purposes and has several advantages.

One variety may be known for extraordinary flavor but with very little disease resistance, and another very hardy but has a more bland taste. The two varieties may be cross-pollinated in order to create a hybrid offspring with both desirable traits.

The hybrid offspring is always sterile though, so reproduction of hybrid plants must be through stem cuttings, tissue culture, or continued cross-pollination.

The development of hybrids is quite common and relatively simple for the self-pollinating grass families of plants like grain, corn or sweet corn. In the case of the corn family, the tassel portion that produces pollen is removed and the silk female portion of the plant is manually pollinated with pollen from another variety.

The cross-pollination and creation of hybrids of dioecious plants where reproduction takes place between two separate plants is a little more complex, but still achievable and a regular part of horticulture science.

In the animal world, a mule would be the hybrid offspring of a mating between a donkey and a horse.

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