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Hybrids and Cultivars

margaret005margaret005 Posts: 110
Evening everyone

Can anyone give me some help in understanding what a Hybrid is and what a Cultivar is please?

From what I understand a hybrid is a cross between two plants of the same species (so this could be 2 x lavandula angustifolia?) but this cross is only by seed.

A cultivar is a plant created from a vegetative method only?

Many thanks for any help!


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 61,384
    This is something that perhaps @nutcutlet, @Liriodendron or @Hostafan1 , amongst others, could explain ... 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • margaret005margaret005 Posts: 110
    Thanks for the reply dovefromabove. I ask because I’ve just started studying for the RHS level 2. Anyone know about monocots and dicots? 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,149
    edited 28 June
    Anyone know about monocots and dicots? 

    That's easier.  Cotyledons are the seed leaves, the first leaves that form when a seed germinates.  They are usually very simple shapes and look nothing like the true leaves that follow.  Some plants, such as grasses, are monocotyledonous: they have only one seed leaf.  Most plants have two, so they are dicotyledonous.  Usually abbreviated, in speech at least, to monocots and dicots.  More of an issue for botanists than for gardeners.
  • margaret005margaret005 Posts: 110
    Thanks Josusa, I understand the seed leave parts anyway and I’ve looking into the many differences monocots and dicots have. Can you confirm that monocots often have bulbs? Information I’ve found on the internet (one source) says that dicots have bulbs? But I thought that monocots often have sheathes thus are often a bulb. 

    Sorry to have waffled on I got carried away 🤣 
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 8,069
    Hybrids are the offspring of 2 different species.
    A cultivar does not occur naturally, but is bred in "captivity ", they are sterile.
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  • margaret005margaret005 Posts: 110
    punkdoc said:
    Hybrids are the offspring of 2 different species.
    A cultivar does not occur naturally, but is bred in "captivity ", they are sterile.
    I thought hybrids were the offspring of two genus? Isn’t a species of Lavender, Angustifolia? If so if two Lavendula Angustifolias were crossed wouldn’t the plant be the same?

    Sorry if it sounds like I’m saying you’re wrong (I’m not at all!) I’m just trying to get my head round it haha
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,322
    In addition to what @punkdoc said, cultivars are all clones of one original plant and are propagated asexually/vegetatively (eg cuttings, layering, root sections, dividing and budding/grafting) but there are also very complex ways of growing them from just a few cells these days, known as micropropagation.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • margaret005margaret005 Posts: 110
    Bobthegardener, how does that create a new different plant? I thought the cultivars are a brand new plant in their own right? Hence why they have their own name.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,322
    New cultivars arise from a new plant grown from seed, or a naturally occuring 'sport' (genetic mutation) in an existing plant.  If it is found that this new plant/sport is sterile and so won't produce seed then it can be propagated as above and is then known as a cultivar.
    A good example is the Corkscrew hazel, was first found as a natural mutation or sport in a hedgerow on the Frocester Court Estate, Gloucestershire in 1863.  Every corkscrew hazel in the world is a clone of that original twig, grafted onto common hazel rootstocks.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,171
    As I understand it in horticultural terms, a cultivar is the result of selective breeding, they are those plants selected over time with desirable traits. The term Cultivar coming about as they are do not naturally occur in the wild, but are very much a result of cultivation.

    Effectively most ornamental garden plants and food crops are cultivars, with little resemblance to their wild ancestors.

    From there keeping within the definitions of horticulture (rather than in a wider biological sense) a hybrid is usually the intentional cross of two cultivars.

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