Cultivars, short for cultivated varieties, are plants that have been selectively bred or chosen for specific desirable traits. In agriculture, including the field of horticulture, cultivars play a crucial role in crop production and plant breeding.
Cultivars are developed through a process called selection, where plants with desirable characteristics are chosen for propagation and further breeding. These characteristics can include traits such as higher yield, disease resistance, improved flavour, better adaptability to certain climates or growing conditions, or other specific features.
In the context of crops, cultivars are often developed to meet the needs of farmers, consumers, and the industry. For example, in the case of fruits and vegetables, cultivars may be selected for traits like size, taste, colour, storability, or resistance to pests and diseases. In the case of ornamental plants, cultivars may be chosen for their unique flower colours, shapes, or growth habits.
Cultivars can be developed through traditional breeding methods, where plants with desired traits are crossbred, or through modern biotechnological techniques, such as genetic engineering or marker-assisted selection.
It’s worth noting that cultivars are distinct from wild or native varieties of plants. Cultivars are the result of human intervention, and they are often propagated through vegetative means, such as grafting or cuttings, to maintain the desired traits from one generation to the next.
In summary, cultivars are cultivated varieties of plants that have been selectively bred or chosen for specific desirable traits. They are an important component of modern agriculture and horticulture, contributing to increased crop productivity, improved quality, and specific features that meet the needs of farmers and consumers.