Questions about avoiding cross pollination

cabrita(9b SoCal)October 2, 2008

I want to save more seeds next year and trying to learn to keep them pure. I figure things do not cross pollinate all around the Fabacea family, but I was wondering about across genus and varieties.

LetÂs say in the spring I plant some yard long beans (vigna unguiculala sesquipedalis), I should also be able to plant regular green beans letÂs say Kentucky wonder (Phaseolus Vulgaris) next to them without danger of cross pollination, right? Is this combination OK, since they are different genus?

Now what about within the same genus? Let say I want to plant any bean, for example purple pole beans (phaseolus vulgaris), should I not plant Phaseolus lunatus (lima beans) in the vicinity? or is this still OK? Will they interbreed?

I am also assuming chick peas (cicer arietinum) are OK to plant next to regular peas (Pisum sativum) without danger of cross pollination, is this right? But the different Pisum sativum like sugar snap peas, shelling peas and snow peas might interbreed?

Any information on this is much appreciated,


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jimster(z7a MA)

Here is a thread which addresses that question. It's not the only one.


Here is a link that might be useful: Non-crossing Bean Species

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 10:46PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Here's another.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bean Cross-Pollination

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 10:51PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Thank you Jim!

I had done a search before posting the question but did not find a much as I like this forum and all the helpful and knowledgeable members, the search function could be improved IMHO.

I read the former threads and I am glad my intuition was right. So I learned that one is safe staying with different genus. I also gather from some of the responses that if cow peas and yard long beans can cross, then so can limas and common beans, even though no one stated this explicitly. Is that right?

Also, that if by any chance, an inter-genus cross happens, this is very rare and it is cause for rejoicing, not concern, as one has then potentially another variety/species? The one thing I did find strange though is that those in the latter case are fertile. Would it not be like horses and donkeys breeding mules but they are infertile (I mean the mules). I know, legumes are not horses....

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 3:15PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Don't feel bad, cabrita. I remembered those threads, one of which was mine, so I knew where they were and found them quickly and easily.

Cross-pollination and isolation distances are topics of great interest to most of us beanophiles. We need a comprehensive listing to reference. I had hoped that would be included in the proposed bean lexicon which has been discussed from time to time. Originally, it was thought that this forum could have a FAQ like some other forums have. Unfortunately, from what I have heard on other forums, GW no longer supports new FAQs. We need to check into that.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 6:40PM
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There are always exceptions to rules, but in a nutshell, there are few natural interspecies crosses. P. Lunatus and P. Vulgaris do not cross. It is rare for P.Vulgaris to cross with in specie. Cowpeas and Yardlongs are the same species so they will cross within the species. There are few interspecies hybrids in vegetables, and the few that I am aware of are chemically manipulated to make the hybrid.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 6:58PM
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