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"Heirloom" Hybrids for Sale?

Lucerne Valley, CA(Zone 8a)

Hello veggie gardeners! I started a thread on the heirloom veggie forum and it was suggested to me that I bring it here, where more folks might have good input for me, as well as be made aware of this problem of folks who sell seeds misrepresenting and catching people unawares. In a nutshell I bought some seeds from that were listed as heirlooms but in fact were not. I've quoted EdenBros response to me there. Rather than go into the whole spiel again, I ask that you look at There is a link there to the watchdog report I made on this seller as well.

Edited to add the following:

Okay see here is where I get confused. Is this:, an heirloom? Edisto47. It's "crossed" and yet bears viable seed if I understand correctly.

When I attempted to research "Golden Beauty" corn, I discovered that there is both an heirloom variety and a later introduced commercial hybrid by the same name. I have no idea which of these EdenBros sold me.
They also sold me "Crimson Sweet" Watermelon ( as an heirloom, which does not set seed.

This message was edited Apr 8, 2012 4:15 PM

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

To further the confusion can a Heirloom be a Hydrid? Its always been my understanding that Heirlooms were O/P regardless of ones definition of Heirloom.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

As far as I know Crimson sweet is a seeded melon and open pollinated. Not all the seed saving information in the plant files is correct.

Best information that I can find is that Edisto 47 is an open pollinated melon released in the early 60's. Farmerdill seems to have fairly detail information on a whole hoard of vegetables. I'm assuming that by F8 he means that it was released for sale at the 8th generation after the cross. It should be pretty stable at that point.

Beats me about the Golden beauty corn. I've seen a reference to golden beauty from the 30's but everyone else is saying the fifties. Only their supplier knows for sure.
Hybrids will produce viable seed, it just will vary from it's parents in some form.

If a Labrador retriever breeds a poodle you'll get a labradoodle. Most of the pups will be fairly similar. If you interbred those pups with each other you'd notice some of the offspring would be more like a lab and some would be more like the poodle and some would be a mix in between.

Edited to fix typos

This message was edited Apr 9, 2012 6:22 AM

Lucerne Valley, CA(Zone 8a)

Hmmm... so it's a labradoodle, not a mule, eh?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

SOME hybrids are viable...Im finding this discussions confusing enough...LOL

Back to plants...the seeds might be viable (producing living offspring) for a hybrid plant but if you save seeds and grow the next generation they will NOT come true to the parent plant...which I believe is the whole point between a hybrid vs. a O/P.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Golden Beauty ;"Golden Beauty - Breeder: Massachusetts. Agric. Exp. Sta. Characteristics: North Star class, yellow kernels, 12 rows. 1955."

Edisto 47 is open pollinated (1963) F8 simply means that the cross with Georgia 47 took place with an F8 version of the original Edisto (1956) breeding line.

Crimson Sweet (1963) open pollinated. A sister line of Allsweet developed by Hall of Kansas State U.

" heirloom" to me is simply a fad buzzword used a marketing tool. about as many definitions as people. Most of which completely ignore the definition of "heirloom"

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Posted this awhile back. What's wrong with this picture? :)

Thumbnail by Ray_Der_Phan
Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I watched this quiz on a couple of threads, after a time I'll stay with old standards and new varieties. It gets confusing ,!! we agree.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Here is the wild card concerning Golden Beauty.
If you go to the AAS website and open the link for Complete list of AAS winners 1933 to present, you open a spreadsheet that shows Golden beauty is clearly a Hybrid.

Now if you follow to this link ,you open a PDF of the resistance of certain corn varieties to Chinch bug infestation. On the 13th page of this PDF, which is scanned copy of page 547 of a University of Illinois Agricultural Experimet Station Bulletin 243, you'll read this.

Golden Beauty is a medium-late maturing, orange-yellow, dent
corn which has been grown in Jackson county near Carbondale for
at least forty-six years.The exact origin of this strain is
unknown. The first seed was purchased by Mr. F. P. Parrish of
Carbondale from an Indiana seed firm, the name and location of
which Mr. Parrish was unable to recall. In ear and stalk
characteristics, this corn resembles a well-known variety. called
Golden Beauty, which is grown more or less generally in
Pennsylvania and other eastern states. Samples of Golden Beauty
seed, secured from a Pennsylvania seed company and seeded in
Illinois in 1922, produced a crop of corn which, in general
appearance, was not distinguishable from that grown from the seed
secured in Jackson county. These facts would seem to warrant the
belief that this is a local strain of the variety of Golden

Conclusion Golden Beauty sweet corn is a Hybrid.

Edited to fix non-working link

This message was edited Apr 9, 2012 12:43 PM

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Ray-There is a hybrid and a O/P version of Abe Lincoln. But I wouldn't consider the Hybrid an heirloom.

I have always understood an Heirloom to be O/P. That seeds saved correctly will come true, not really concerned about the age. I have seen Heirloom type hybrid, which at least seems more truthful.

It just seems like its intentially misleading and thats concerning. I guess Ill stick with vendors that dont sell hybrids or CLEARLY mark O/P vs hybrid. Since seed saving on any type of hybrid would be a crap shoot.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Yep. Like those gazillion Momotaro seeds I saved last season....before I knew better.....

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Ya but were they sold as heirlooms or was it a simple oversight? Here's a link to a similar discussion going on, on the Beginners Veggie Forum Even one of these posts says that Heirlooms are O/P .

To me the definition of an heirloom is O/P with a history. But definitely an O/P. Not all O/Ps are heirlooms but all heirlooms are O/P

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Doug 9345. Not too confusing. The Golden Beauty in the Illinois article is a dent field corn. Different category than sweet corn. It is not at all unusual to have different types, even different species sporting the same name. Golden Beauty is a popular name for flowering plants (flowers) , several melons among them, (cantaloupe and Casaba), tomato, etc.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Farmerdill-so true. Ill do a search on DG PF, thinking Ill find just what Im looking for. Just didnt realize that I had to go thru 20 pgs to get there.

Whats dent corn?

I have also noticed that when the history of a veggie is given the date of Hybridization may be given but it has since been stabilized to come true from seed, O/P

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Dent corn is used primarily for cornmeal and feed.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Dent corn, field corn, for silages, feeds, I like field corn better than sweet corn - not as watery

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

" heirloom" to me is simply a fad buzzword used a marketing tool.

Good one! It has lots of warm and fuzzy connotations, but the definition has to include "stable variety", that is, "OP".

>> I have also noticed that when the history of a veggie is given the date of Hybridization may be given but it has since been stabilized to come true from seed, O/P

I agree with 1lisac. Many cultivars "began" as a cross between two or more OP varieties or even crosses with wild or unikown strains. But then they were inbred AND SELECTED for many generations (8? 12? 20?) until continued crosses yielded consistently uniform ofspring. At that point, what was once a hybrid or a mongrel became a stable strain or population, and hence an OP cultivar.

But really reputable seed vendors don't play the ambiguity game. "Hybrid" should mean "F1 hybrid" and "OP" should mean "a strain that is stable when crossed with itself".

That said, there are plenty of big mail-order houses that will say almost anything to make a sale.
Every tomato they sell has "the best taste".
2/3 of all seeds they sell are "the easiest variety to grow".
Half the seeds in one section are "most popular".
Yeah, right, EVERY variety is "above average".

Even names will sometimes be made vague or unecessarily proprietary, so that you can't tell what common named varoety you are buying when you get "Joe's Exculsive Whiz-Bang Carrot". It probably means that Joe is the only vendor who sells Danvers Carrots under that name!

I only trust vendors who are quick to reveal what's OP, what probably needs stratification, which perennials may be short-lived in certain climates, may not flower much the first year, and so on.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Does that define "new plants" made from gene splicing as OP or as just plain hybrid?
That would be" genetically modified" and when was the last time we saw that in an add?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Hybrid and GMOs are 2 completely different things and as a home gardener you aren't going to see GMOs advertised because they are only available commercially. One has nothing to do with the other. Im confused enough as it is. Lol

Up until Desert_Witch posted on the Heirloom forum that she was sold veggie seeds that where advertised as Heirloom Hybrids because they had been around for X number of yrs., I'd never even heard of them. To my knowledge Edenbros is the only company with this definition but I'm sure there are more. Obviously, this has really hit my "hot" button.

Rick I agree I want the company to tell me how to grow, or not grow, the seeds in my area, not in theirs.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

As far as I know there are three types of corn:

Sweet corn
Dent corn

The first two we are familiar with.

The latter is fed to farm animals, or ground into cornmeal.

To confuse Lisa even more - they really should be called "Maize"

Lucerne Valley, CA(Zone 8a)

I am so grateful to everyone who has weighed in on this. I am not a horticulturist. If I'm honest I'm not buying heirloom seeds to preserve the species for posterity. What I have been seeking with the purchase of heirloom seeds are open pollinated plants that will set seed reasonably true to the parent plant, that I might collect and save seeds and thereby save money through the many (hopefully) years of gardening I have ahead of me. Yes, I do have concerns about the whole GMO controversy, but I am content in that if I grow my own food and am careful about where I buy my seed I can reliably eat non GMO foods. (Whether or not GMO seeds are being produced and marketed to home growers is a matter for those with better research skills than I. It is simply too difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff given the glut of [mis]information on the interwebz.) I just want to be able to save seed that grows and tastes like the plant I saved it from. These varied definitions and marketing tricks have made it difficult, but I have a better understanding now, both of the terms and of my needs/desires. I'll be making sure that the seed companies I buy from are providing me with seeds that will indeed set seed that is true to the parent plant and give a d*** what anyone cares to call it! LOL

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

desert_witch - I could not have said that better myself - especially the part about wanting to save seeds to save money. I don't seem to have as much of that as I used to.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Well I understood the part about popcorn and seed saving!!!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Bee-I know what Maize is. Humphf! Lol

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Rick I agree I want the company to tell me how to grow, or not grow, the seeds in my area, not in theirs.

Yeah! Except for "Wal-Mart Cheapies", I won't buy a pkt that says "Direct sow in April or May". If they can't take the trouble to say "2-6 weeks after last avg frost", they are too lame for me to trust anything else they say.

Botanical Interests has som much pkt info that they print front + back + both sides INSIDE the pkt. You have to slit it open and unfold it to read all the info. (Or copy-paste from thier website.)

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