Bill Carter, Washington

Numbered Seedlings

January 6, 2013

Category: Hybridizing

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Most breeders have some sort of system to identify new seedings.  i.e. 95-12-1 or something similar.

Being new to breeding I wondered if there is some consistent convention or does each breeder come up with their own system?  I hope to start getting blooms this year and am guessing the system is “year of first bloom – cross # – sibling #” .  Is this  what others do?

3 responses to “Numbered Seedlings”

  1. Harold Koopowitz, California Harold Koopowitz, California says:


    I start with the year I made the cross, the next number is just a  number that lets me identify the cross and the third is the selection #.


  2. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia Lawrence Trevanion, Australia says:

    Hi Bill,

    I use a cross number that is the year of the seedlings first season (usually also the planting year), a letter for the type of cross, and then a number to distinguish it from others of the same type, a number that usually reflects the planting order eg. 06M3 (2006, main division, 3rd collection).

    I use a selection number that is the year the selection was made, a number to distinguish it from others of the same type, and then the type eg 06/3M (selected in 2006, 3rd selection, main division type). This means that every selection number has a cross number associated with it (hopefully).

    The main disadvantage of this system is that I then plant the selections out in number order but this separates siblings so that they can’t be easily compared. If you are going to move selections out of seedling beds into separate selection beds you should probably use a system like mine. If not, a system like Harold’s is probably best.

  3. Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland says:

    I use a cross number when planting seeds to represent the year and the number of the cross that year eg. 12/01 and 12/36  represent the first and the 36 th crosses made in 2012  – details of the parents are recorded along the line of the cross number, seed parent always first as seems to be common practice. I then have a code for each cross – S = standard; I = Intermediate.M = Miniature and Sp. = species. So each cross is shown as S x S; M x S; or Sp.x M or whichever is appropriate. Though most of my records are manual (shame on me!) these codes lend themselves to computer recording.

    When making selections I simply give each selection a straight number – I started with # 1 in 1970, my first year of selections and this year I finished at 3923 which averages something less than 100 selections .per year.  I find this systen logical, label making is less complicated and knowing the first number used each year gives an indication of the season of flowering. After each dig when the seedlings have had 2-3 years assesment at least 50% (this discipline is vital) are discarded until we get down to the few that seem worth naming.

    All these essential details are recorded on one master sheet right up to the stage of Naming and registering.  Annual assessment notes are recorded in a separate book copied from the type used by the Richardsons in Waterford.

    Like almost all breeders I have registered far too many – we all love our daffodil children and disposal is often dificult, but we must be hard hearted!

    The selection process is another matter – and there have been some good responses. I’d just add – inspect from the back, only if the flower looks really good from the back is it worth looking at the face, and  then you’ll find many disappointments.