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wild crossings

 
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As we all likely know, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding gardening and such.  Many things are easily brushed off as nonsense, and much needs a bit of knowledge &/or experience.  One of the things I've been told is to beware certain plants can cross with poisonous wild ones, and saving those seeds would be dangerous.  I'm fairly certain this is bunk.  Possibly whispered around long ago trying to stop people saving their own and instead, buy all their seeds.
Anyone know more about this?  I'm not concerned about 1-in-a-billion chances. Are there any plants with a reasonable possibility of doing this?
 
pollinator
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Squash can, people have even died from it and it doesn't need to be a "wild" version it crosses with either if anyone is growing an ornamental squash and that crosses in then you can get a poisonous squash plant, I believe it is theoretically possible to reactivate the genes for the poison without crossing to a wild or ornamental plant but that is much less likely. The good news is the poison causes the plant to be horrendously bitter, so bitter that few people are going to eat it. Last year (2020)  one of the major seed suppliers who supplies many of the UK's large seed companies had a problem with a cross and had to recall and issue warnings for several different seeds.

Courgette seed recall
German killed by Neighbours courgette
 
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I have been growing landrace squash for more than a decade. In all that time, I have only found one squash with a hint of bitterness (poison) about it. That squash was an interspecies hybrid. I didn't replant seeds from that particular squash, and the trait never showed up again.

Pepo squash are the only commonly grown species that has readily available poisonous relatives.

In the other squash species, the genes for bitterness were eliminated millennia ago. Cross pollination doesn't create new genes for manuacturing poisons.
 
Anna Merkwelt
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Thank you for your replies, good to know.
Pepo have always done terribly here anyway.  I finally gave up a few years back when the vine borers wore me down.  My 'mostly-butternut' feral moschata might not be the prettiest, and I don't care; she keeps us fed.  Reliable and delicious.

Usually this kind of warning comes from non-plant people.  Yet, once, I remember an oldish farmer tell me my beans would be poisonous, and some other ridiculous sounding bs.  Didn't stop me, its just rattled around in my head since then.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Anna Merkwelt wrote:once, I remember an oldish farmer tell me my beans would be poisonous, and some other ridiculous sounding bs.  Didn't stop me, its just rattled around in my head since then.



Beans are poisonous under the best of growing conditions. That's why traditional cooking methods call for long periods of soaking, and cooking for a long time at high temperatures.

 
pollinator
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One of the things I've been told is to beware certain plants can cross with poisonous wild ones, and saving those seeds would be dangerous.  




Hadn't heard of that one. Usually I just get people telling me that seeds from a hybrid are always sterile.

There are a few cases I remember reading about where people grafted vegetables onto stems from poisonous wild relatives. The one that sticks out the most was a tomato branch that had been grafted to a jimsonweed plant. The poison ended up in the fruits. The whole family had to be rushed to the hospital, where one died and the others had a long, difficult recovery.

(Going entirely by memory there.)
 
Anna Merkwelt
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

Beans are poisonous under the best of growing conditions. That's why traditional cooking methods call for long periods of soaking, and cooking for a long time at high temperatures.




Well yes, fair enough.  He thought more so.  Pods and all.
Occasionally I've wondered if he was pulling my leg or trying to make a joke.  With this and other odd bits of wisdom.  He seemed genuinely concerned I might poison myself.
 
Anna Merkwelt
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:

Hadn't heard of that one. Usually I just get people telling me that seeds from a hybrid are always sterile.



That one's definitely well entrenched.

Lots of "wild plants are poisonous" fear gets passed down, so someone might have told him as a child and he never thought it might be false.

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:

There are a few cases I remember reading about where people grafted vegetables onto stems from poisonous wild relatives. The one that sticks out the most was a tomato branch that had been grafted to a jimsonweed plant. The poison ended up in the fruits. The whole family had to be rushed to the hospital, where one died and the others had a long, difficult recovery.

(Going entirely by memory there.)



Dang.


 
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grafting a tomato to a jimsonweed sounds quite nefarious
 
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