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Seed Library & Gardening: Resources - Guides

Glossary of Common Terms

Chaff: the husks of corn or other seeds separated by winnowing or threshing.

Cross-pollination: when pollen is exchanged between flowers from the same or different plants.

F1 hybrid: "F" stands for filial or offspring. F1 is the first generation of offspring after cross-pollination. Often F1 hybrids produce sterile offspring or offspring which is unlike the parent. 

Hybrid: varieties resulting from natural or artificial pollination between genetically distinct parents. Commercially produced plants are often hybrids bred for specific characteristics.

Open-pollination: open-pollination varieties are stable varieties resulting from pollination between the same or genetically similar parents. Not hybrid.

Self-pollination: when pollination takes place within a single flower. Self-pollinating plants do not require other flowers or plants to pollinate it. Isolation or separation of self-pollinating plants within the garden is not necessary. 

Threshing: process of loosening the edible part of a cereal grain, or other crop, from the surrounding chaff. This step takes place between harvesting and winnowing.

Umbels: a flower cluster in which stalks of nearly equal length spring from a common center and form a flat or curved surface, characteristic of the parsley family.

Winnowing: blowing a current of air through (grain) in order to remove the chaff. This step takes place after threshing.

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