Below you will find a list of words that are often used throughout blog posts, articles, and how-tos on this website.

Cold Stratification – The process of mimicking the natural cycle the seed must go through in order to germinate. This involves cooling the seed, generally to a minimum of 4C, in order to jump start the germination process. Refer to your seed packets to see how long your particular seed needs to be stratified. This is required for many perennial seeds.

Come True (AKA “coming true” or “true to seed”) – This refers to when the seed from the plant saved will be the same plant or variety as the plant the seed was saved from.

Cross-pollination – this occurs when the pollen from one kind of plant is transferred to another kind of plant or variety, causing a mixture of genetic types to cause further offspring from the mother plant to be different then the mother plant.

Dry Seeds – Include peppers, beans, peas, carrots, parsnips, most herbs, etc. They are the seeds that when extracted from the husk, hull, or fruit are dry to the touch.

Heirloom plant – Refers to any plant that has remained unchanged, and comes true to seed, for a minimum of 50 years of the current date.

Hybrid plant – Refers to any plant that has had two different plant or variety-types as parents.

Isolation – refers to one of several methods where the flowers of the plant are isolated from other varieties or species in order to ensure the seed being saved will come true to the mother plant. To see more information on isolation techniques, see this article.

Open Pollinated plant – Refers to any plant that comes true to seed, but is younger then 50 years old.

Pollination – This is the process whereby pollen (the male part of the reproductive system, called the gametes) is transferred in plants to the female (carpel) part of a flower in order to produce offspring (the fruit, vegetable, or seed pod).

Self-fertilizing – This occurs when the plant, while able to fertilize itself by having the pollen from the anther transfer to the stamen within the same flower, requires some kind of outside force in order to move the pollen from the anther to the stamen. This is often done by movement of the flower, either through wind, animals moving against the plant, or sonicating pollinators (eg. large bumble bees). Quite often in self-fertilizing plants, this transfer of pollen happens before the flower has completely opened.

Self-pollinating – This is when the stamen and carpel within the same flower pollinate without the need of outside force or movement.

Wet Seeds – Wet seeds include tomatoes, squash, eggplant, tomatillos, cucumbers, melons, etc. These are the seeds that when extracted from the fruit/vegetable they are wet, usually have some residue on them, and in some cases require special cleaning or fermentation for proper storage.