How Vegetables Are Pollinated: Open Pollination and Hybrids
Posted May 20 2009 9:28am
Vegetables are pollinated in two basic ways: self pollination and cross pollination.
• Self pollinators are plants that produce flowers that are usually fertilized by their own pollen, commlonly when the male and female flower parts are contained within the same flower.
• Cross pollinators are plants with flowers that require pollen from another flower (a male flower on the same plant--thus a form of self-pollination--or from another plant) to produce a fertilized seed. Cross pollinators commonly require the help of insects or the wind to achieve pollination.
Self-pollinated vegetablesinclude: bush and pole beans, lima beans, chicory, endive, lettuce, English and Southern peas, and tomatoes.
Wind-pollinated vegetablesinclude: beets, chard, sweet corn, and spinach.
How a vegetable is pollinated is important if you want to grow plants that are true-to-type, meaning the same as the parent plant: for example, if you want the same fruit size, color, shape, and flavor, the same plant height or growing habit, the same days to maturity and harvest. If a vegetable is cross pollinated by a plant that is not the same strain or variety, it will not grow true-to-type.