WebGrower.comSM

An educational resource of the Victory Seed Company

 

Victory Heirloom Seed Company - Preserving the future, one seed at a time!

 "Preserving the future,
one seed at a time." ™



Like Us on Facebook

Follow VictorySeeds on Twitter

Visit Victory Seed Company's YouTube Channel

Our Newsletter Archive


No GMOs Here!

We are an early signer of the Safe Seed Pledge

All of our rare and heirloom seeds are public domain, open-pollinated, non-hybrid and chemically untreated. No chemicals, unstable hybrids, patented or genetically engineered seeds!


Seed Favors for your Special Event.

Click here for Heirloom Tomato Seeds and Information.

Glossary of Botanical Terms
Used On This Web Site

 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary. If the term you are looking for starts with a digit or symbol, choose the '#' link.

If there is a definition that you are looking for and it is not here, please contact us and we will do our best to help you out.  Please limit your query to botanical terms.   :)


- A -

achene

A hard, dry, one-chambered, one-seeded indehiscent fruit. The fruit wall is not joined with the seed coat. Example: spinach and sunflower.

agriculture

The science, art, or occupation concerned with cultivating land, raising crops, and feeding, breeding, and raising livestock; farming.

All-America Selection® (AAS)

All-America Selections tests and introduces AAS Winners each year. Many people ask, who determines an AAS Winner? The answer is the independent AAS Judges determine the AAS Winners by judging and scoring the entries. The Judges score each entry from 0 to 5 points, with 5 being the highest. Judges report their scores each fall. AAS uses an independent accounting firm to calculate the average score of each entry. Only the entry with the highest average score is considered for a possible AAS Award. The AAS Judges determine which, if any, new unsold entries have proven superior qualities to be introduced as AAS Winners.

What qualities will Judges score? Judges look for significantly improved qualities such as earliness to bloom or harvest, disease or pest tolerance, novel colors or flavors, novel flower forms, total yield, length of flowering or harvest and overall performance. In the last ten years an entry needs to have at least two significantly improved qualities to be considered by Judges for an AAS Award.

The AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable, new varieties that have proven their superior performance in Trial Grounds across North America.

For more information, visit the AAS website at:
www.all-americaselections.org

angiosperm

A plant whose seeds are formed within a fruit.  Angiosperms, or flowering plants, are the dominant plants in the world today.  Virtually all crop plants are of this plant class.

annual

A plant that completes it life cycle, from seed to seed, in one growing season.

anther

The saclike structure, that is the part of the stamen (male reproductive part), in which pollen is formed in a flower.

asexual reproduction

The process of producing new individuals by vegetative propagation -- for example, using cuttings.   All offspring are clones or genetically identical to the parent plant.

Back to Top

- B -

Bean Common Mosaic Virus (BCMV)

Bean common mosaic virus (BCMV) and Bean common mosaic necrosis virus (BCMNV) are species within the genus Potyvirus, family Potyviridae and cause some of the most economically important diseases of legume crops worldwide. Both viruses occur essentially wherever bean and cowpea (including Phaseolus, Vicia, Vigna), lupin (Lupinus), pea (Pisum), peanut (Arachis), and soybean (Glycine) are grown; are transmitted by aphids in a non-persistent manner, and also seed-transmitted. Isolates of BCMV and BCMNV can be differentiated into ten pathotypes based on their reactions on differential bean cultivars.

berry

Fruit with soft flesh surrounding one or more seeds.

biodiversity

Biodiversity is a commonly used abbreviation of the two words, "biological" and "diversity".  It simply refers to the diversity, or variety, of plants and other living things in a particular area, region, or the planet as a whole system.

For many reasons, biodiversity on our planet is threatened.  One of the biggest contributors to loss of cultivated plant variety loss is the consolidation and mergers within the mainstream seed industry.  For more information, refer to the ETC Group's papers entitled, "Global Seed Industry Concentration - 2005" and "Oligopoly, Inc. 2005."

biennial

A plant that completes its life cycle in two years.   Generally, in the first year, growth occurs followed by flowering, fruiting and seed production in the second year.

binomial

The two-part scientific name consisting of a genus name and a species, cultivar, group, series, or hybrid epithet, denoting an individual within a genus. 

blanch

From the Old French word blanchir, to whiten.  As a gardening term, it is used to describe a process of excluding light so as to make the plant material lighter in color and more tender.  For example, this is commonly done with endive.

blight

See "Late Blight."

bolt

An Old English word for arrow, to bolt is a verb used to describe a plant prematurely producing seed.

Back to Top

- C -

Carpel

A floral leaf bearing ovules along the margins. 

Cold Stratification

Many herbs and other perennial plants require this extra "conditioning" or "stratification" step. Cold stratification or conditioning is simply a method of letting the seeds know that it is time to wake up. There are many methods for accomplishing this.

Method 1 - Some people simply sow the seeds into flats outdoors while the weather is still cold and allow them to wake up naturally.

Method 2 - Stratifying seeds on paper towels saves a lot of space and gets the job done.  Lay one sheet of paper towel down flat, lightly moisten with water and sow the seeds about 1" apart. Put a dry paper towel on top and dampen it. Roll it up like a jelly roll and put it in a labeled Ziploc bag.

After the prescribed time for the particular seed type, carefully pick up the seeds with tweezers or the tip of a sharp knife and sow the seed in a seed starting soil mix.

If some seedlings stick to the paper towel, gently tear the paper towel around the seedling, leaving it attached when planting.

Method 3 - Mix the seeds with damp, sterile peat in a plastic bag and place them into the refrigerator. The time required is greatly dependant on the seed type. (This also works best with larger seeds.) Once this is done, sprinkle the mixture on top of pots that you have filled with sterile, pre-moistened potting mix and place in a warm location (on top of the refrigerator). Keep moist until germination occur and treat as you would any other seed you are germinating in pots.

See also Wikipedia - Stratification.

Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)

The Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) label is a non-profit alternative eco-labeling program for small farms that grow using USDA Organic methods but are NOT a part of the USDA Certified Organic program Our farm is a CNG farm.  Click here for more information.

cultivar

A variety of plant that has been produced and maintained through cultivation.  Not a wild variety.  A word from the combination of the two words, "cultivated variety".

Back to Top

- D -

Damping-off

A single, collective term used to describe underground, soil line, or crown rots of seedlings due to unknown causes.  Many soil borne diseases and fungi can cause these symptoms of sudden plant death.  Click here for a more thorough discussion of the description, causes and controls.

Determinate

In the context of our web site, this word is primarily used in reference to tomato categories.  Determinate refers to the growing habit of plants that are bushy, whose fruit ripen over a three to four week period, and generally do not need staking.  Caging is usually recommended.

In the broader sense, the word determinate is used to describe a growth habit of any species that fits this general definition.  Bush beans, for example, are determinate in habit.

See also indeterminate.

Back to Top

- E -

embryo

Rudimentary plant within the seed.

Back to Top

- F -

F1 - F1 Hybrid

First generation resulting from a cross mating of distinctly different parental types.  F2, F3, F4, etc. are annotations for subsequent generations.

Foundation Seed

Primary source of seed of a genetically identified variety from which all increases are made.

Forcing

"Forcing" is an old agricultural term for the practice of raising produce outside of their normal, biological timing. This has historically been achieved in cellars, heated buildings, greenhouses, cold frames or under other artificial growing conditions. For obvious reasons, it is probably the most labor intensive form of production and falls in and out of favor as markets demand.

Once quite popular among regional growers, the out-of-season produce would command high prices making the expense of labor and facilities profitable. However with the adoption of international, large scale food production and the shipping industry, all-season produce availability is no longer rare or a novelty.

fruit

A fruit is a ripened ovary of a plant along with any attached parts that developed with it from the flower.

Back to Top

- G -

gene

A group of base pairs in the DNA molecule that determines one or more hereditary characters.

genetic drift

The phenomenon of genetic traits or characteristics unintentionally or accidentally transferring from one population to another.

In the context of our website, it is generally used to imply the catastrophic corruption of natural varieties with human created, genetically modified organisms.  This contamination is an irreversible action that is akin to biological pollution.

genetic engineering

Genetic engineering involves laboratory techniques to change the DNA of living organisms.  See this great explanation at the Mother's for Natural Law Web site.

glaucous

Adjective to describe a plant or fruit that are covered in a grayish, whitish, or bluish waxy or powdery substance.  From the Greek, glaukos and Latin, glaucus  meaning "blue-gray, green."

GMO

An abbreviation for Genetically Modified Organism.  Refer to genetic engineering.

Genetically modified organisms (GMO), or more correctly, Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEO), provide a class of legal ownership protection and ultimately exist to create profit for their owners.  It is our personal feeling that the risks of using these altered varieties far outweigh any possible benefits.  We have vowed to protect and promote open-pollinated and heirloom seeds.  We are one of the early signers of "The Safe Seed Pledge".

Since the 1980s and the boom of the "biotech era," the goal of the mainstream seed industry, is to force growers to purchase new seed every year.  They hope to break thousands of years of the agricultural practice of farmers saving seed.  Their "holy grail" to force this issue is known as Terminator Technology.  Click here for more information.

Back to Top

- H -

harden off (hardening)

The straightforward process of gradually acclimating a tender seedling, germinated and nurtured under artificial conditions, for life in the wilds of the garden.  For most tender plants (tomatoes, peppers, etc.), hardening off for two weeks is desirable.

Examine your garden on a frosty morning searching for areas that are relatively free from frost.  For the first week, place your plants outside during the warmest part of the day.  Initially limit their exposure, bringing them back indoors and under cover, after a few hours.

During the second week, gradually extend the amount of time you leave them outside, bringing them back in during the evening.  By the end of the second week, assuming that there is no longer any threat of frost, your plants should be ready for transplanting into the garden.

heirloom seed (aka heritage seed)

The definition does vary from person to person, company to company.  It has become a very popular or trendy marketing term.  The Victory Seed Company adheres to the purest form of the definition.  That is, an heirloom plant variety is one that has been valued by a family, tenderly and carefully preserved, and handed along from generation to generation.  For more information, click here.

We also concede that there are some "heirlooms" whose origins were as a commercial release.  That is, they were introduced by a seed company or seedsman.  These old "commercial heirlooms" have value and are worthy of protection.

At a minimum, an heirloom variety must be, open-pollinated seed, not an unstable hybrid, and certainly not genetically modified!

The oldest reference we have been able to find using the word "heirloom" as an adjective for seeds, plants and bulbs is on page 30 of the book entitled, Pioneer American Gardening, compiled by Elvnia Slosson, copyright 1951, Published by Coward-McCann, Inc., New York.

humus

From the Latin word for earth or ground, humus is the organic matter in quality soil.  The reason we work compost into our soil is to increase the humus level which improves the quality and health of the soil.

horticulture

The science and art of the cultivation of a field crops, a garden, orchard, or nursery; the cultivation of flowers, fruits, vegetables, or ornamental plants.

hybrid

A plant resulting from the cross mating of distinctly different parental types.  From the Latin word hybrida or offspring of a domesticated sow and a wild boar.

In the past, no reputable seedsman would ever release a new variety in an unstable state.  It would be bred and selected for years until it would come true-to-type from saved seed.

Starting around WW II, the definition of the term has changed in its implication and application.  Most seed companies are now highly motivated by profit and so they intentionally release unstable, F1 hybrids whose exact parentage are guarded trade secrets.  If a gardener save seeds, their resulting crops will not be true-to-type and will exhibit various traits from its parents.

Since the beginning of the Biotech-era, GMOs are rapidly gaining inroads into the marketplace.

Back to Top

- I -

indehiscent

Not splitting open when ripe.

Indeterminate

Like determinate. this word is primarily used in reference to tomato categories on our web site.  Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow, set fruit, and ripen continuously until death - usually due to disease or frost conditions.  Also known as vining types, they require staking or other support.

In the broader sense, the word indeterminate is used to describe a growth habit of any species that fits this general definition.  Pole, runner or climbing-type beans an example of an indeterminate plant habit.

See also determinate.

Back to Top

- J -

(empty)

Back to Top

- K -

keeper

A storage variety.

Back to Top

- L -

late blight

Late blight is caused by the same fungus (Phytophthora infestans) that caused the famous Irish potato famine of the 1840s. All strains are devastating to tomatoes and potatoes.

The following may be of help:

  • Locate garden where it will receive full morning sun.

  • Avoid overhead watering, especially late in the day. Always water at the soil line. Never the foliage.

  • Keep foliage as dry as possible.

  • Allow extra room between the plants for good air circulation.

  • Destroy volunteer tomato and potato plants and nightshade family weeds, which may harbor the fungus.

  • Do not compost rotten, store-bought potatoes.

  • Pull out and destroy diseased plants.

leach

The roots of the word are Old English leccan, to water.  The definition is to dissolve out.  For example, heavy rains have leached the minerals from the soil.

leggy

The tendency of plants to grow tall, tin and straggly.  Typically caused by inadequate light.

loam

Loam is soil that is rich, fertile and is whose moisture retention abilities are balanced.  The roots are from the Middle English word lam which translated means clay.

Back to Top

- M -

(empty)

Back to Top

- N -

Nostalgia

Remembering history the way it should have been.  The "Good Ol' Days" syndrome.

Back to Top

- O -

olericulture

The cultivation of vegetables for the home or market.

open-pollinated seed

A seed which produces offspring just like the parent plants. Open-pollinated seed allows growers to harvest and save seed for the following year.  Click here for more information.

Organic

The term organic as a descriptor of gardening practices dates back to the early 1940s.  The term, "organic farming" was first used in a 1940 publication, "Look to the Land", by Lord Northbourne.  Then in 1942, J. I. Rodale founded "Organic Gardening and Farming" magazine and used the word "organic" to describe the "natural method of gardening and farming".

It should be noted that prior to about World War II, what we all now call organic gardening and farming was simply the standard horticultural principles practiced for centuries.

Organic, is now a marketing term "owned" by the Federal government.  That is, if you are located in the United States and want to sell something that you grow organically, and call is organic, you fall under the standards of the U.S. government.

Organic, Certified

Certified Organic refers to products grown under guidelines as mandated by the National Standards on Organic Agriculture.  To become certified, growers and processors must keep very detailed records, adhere to the standards, have soil and facilities tested, keep copious records, and pay certification fees and duties (effectively taxes).  Examples of organizations who perform these certifications are OCIA, Oregon Tilth, California Certified Organic Farmers, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

Organically Grown

Many small growers are strict and responsible gardeners but either cannot afford the fees associated with the USDA's certification process or take issues with the standards.  Some believe that the USDA, who has affectively taken legal ownership over the use of the word organic as applied to marketing, is not strict enough.

Since the work of many small growers is a labor of love, there is an exemption set in the national standard allowing a product to be labeled as "Organically Grown" if the grower meets the same requirements and does not have total gross organic sales of over $5,000 annually.

"'Organic' is now dead as a meaningful synonym for the highest quality food. Responsible growers need to identify not only that our food is grown to higher, more considered standards, but also that it is much fresher because it is grown right where it is sold."

In order for us to sell seed labeled as organic, we would be required to become a certified organic handler.  This of course comes at a cost and at this time - a cost which is prohibitive to us.

Note:  If you are a certified organic grower, you can still purchase seed from us as much of the varieties we offer are rare and not available elsewhere and all of our seed is chemically untreated.  Refer to section 205.204, entitled "Seeds and planting stock practice standard" in the National Organic Standard.

Much like the original grassroots efforts of the organic movement of decades ago, there are alternatives cropping up.  One such alternative is the Certified Naturally Grown label.  It is a non-profit alternative eco-labeling program for small farms that grow using USDA Organic methods but are NOT a part of the USDA Certified Organic program.

Overseed

When a seed has quality problems such as suspected low germination rates or physical damage, a farmer of gardener may choose to over seed.  That is, plant denser than the normal seed spacing.  This is intended to compensate for bad seeds and still result in a good stand of plants.

Back to Top

- P -

parthenocarpic

In botany and horticulture, parthenocarpy (literally meaning virgin fruit) is the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of ovules. In simple English, this means that fruit develops from a flower that was not pollinated and that the resulting fruit is therefore seedless.

For the context of Victory Seeds®, we offer several varieties of parthenocarpic tomatoes.  They were bred at Oregon State University for colder, shorter growing seasons and can often produce ripe fruits two weeks earlier than other varieties planted in the garden.

Although the first fruits on the plants will effectively be seedless, once the weather warms up, the later fruit resulting from pollinated flowers will contain some seeds.  Keep this in mind when seed saving!

NOTE: The parthenocarpic trait in tomatoes is naturally occurring and not the result of genetic engineering.  It has been bred into the open-pollinated varieties that we offer here.

perennial

A plant that lives from year to year and typically involves many reproductive cycles.  By definition, for three seasons or more.  From the Latin word perennis, "through the year".

perfect flowers

This term refers to plant types whose flowers contain both male (stamen) and female (pistil) structures and whose pollen is self-compatible (See also self-incompatible).

pistil

The seed-bearing organ of the flower, composed of stigma, style, and ovary.

plant regulators

Synthetic compounds that induce growth responses in plants. Also known as "growth regulators."

pollen

Tiny (often microscopic) bodies that are borne in the anthers of flowers and contains the male generative cells.

Back to Top

- Q -

(empty)

Back to Top

- R -

resistance

The ability of plants to suppress or retard the activities of a specified pest or pathogen.  Also, the ability of plants to withstand a specific environmental or chemical stress.

rhizome

Rhizomes are underground, horizontal stems that produce shoots and roots.  From the Greek word rhiza, root.

rugose

Wrinkled, usually covered with wrinkles, the venation seeming impressed into the surface.

Back to Top

- S -

scarify (scarification)

In plant types that have hard seed coats, germination can take months to years to naturally occur.  Texas Bluebonnets are an example of this.  To promote fast germination, growers scarify the seed coat.

Scarification is the manual scratching or nicking of the seed coat as a means of simulate the natural weathering process.  Once scarified, most seed will germinate quickly and should be kept watered until germination occurs and plants become established.

There are three common methods used for scarification:

  • Physically nick the seeds with a knife.

  • Rub the seeds with fine sandpaper.

  • Freeze the seeds overnight then then quickly pour boiling water over the seeds and allow to soak at room temperature for several hours prior to planting.

The key is to experiment and find out what works best for you and for the seed variety you are working with.

seedbank

There are other definitions, but in the context of the mission of the Victory Seed Company, a seedbank (also called a seed bank, seed vault, gene bank, or plant bank) is the collection of seeds specially prepared for long-term storage.

The reasons for developing and maintaining a seedbank varies by individual or organization.  We work to help protect as many of the useful plants that have been developed over centuries but that have now become rare or are no longer available from commercial sources.

Storing seeds helps to guard against catastrophic events like natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, war, or corporate consolidations. Unlike seed libraries or seed swaps that encourage frequent reuse and sharing of seeds, seedbanks are not typically open to the public.

self-incompatibility

Self-incompatibility, when referring to pollination, refers to plants who are unable to pollinate their own flowers.  That is, two or more plants of the particular variety are required for pollination to occur and fruits to develop.

sport

A phenomenon whereby a spontaneous mutation occurs within an otherwise stable plant variety.  It is caused by a genetic mutation and not as a result of cross pollination.

stamen

The stamen (plural stamina or stamens) is the male or pollen producing reproductive organ of a flower. Stamens typically consist of a stalk called the filament, and an anther.

statification

Stratification is the process of pretreating seeds to simulate a natural winter cycle that a seed must endure before germinatng. Many seed species undergo an embryonic dormancy phase, and generally will not sprout until this dormancy is broken. The time taken to stratify seeds depends on species and conditions.

sucker

The unwanted shoots from the stem or roots that draw nutrients and sap the plants fruiting and flowering ability.

susceptibility

The inability of plants to restrict the activities of a specified pest or pathogen. Also, the inability to withstand a specific environmental or chemical stress.

sustainable agriculture

"A sustainable agriculture must be economically viable, socially responsible, and ecologically sound. The economic, social, and ecological are interrelated, and all are essential to sustainability. An agriculture that uses up or degrades its natural resource base, or pollutes the natural environment, eventually will lost its ability to produce. It’s not sustainable. An agriculture that isn’t profitable, at least over time, will not allow its farmers to stay in business. It’s not sustainable. An agriculture that fails to meet the needs of society, as producers and citizens as well as consumers, will not be sustained by society. It’s not sustainable. A sustainable agriculture must be all three – ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially responsible. And the three must be in harmony."   -- Dr. John E. Ikerd, Extension Professor, University of Missouri

Back to Top

- T -

tolerance:

The ability of plants to endure a specified pest, pathogen, environmental pressure or chemical stress. A tolerant variety will sustain less damage than a susceptible variety when grown under the same conditions.

Tree-type:

One class of tomatoes exhibits characteristics of both determinate and indeterminate types.  Historically they are called "tree-type". 

" . . . the tomato De Laye, often called Tree tomato.  This originated about 1862 in a garden at Chateau de Laye, France.  In this the plant rarely exceeds 18 inches in height, is single-stemmed or with few very short branches, the nodes very short, the fruit clusters few and small.  From this, by crossing with other types, there has been developed a distinct class of dwarf tomatoes which are of intermediate form and character and are well represented by Dwarf Champion.1

Back to Top

- U -

(empty)

Back to Top

- V -

variegated:

Having streaks or spots of different colors; as variegated ivy.

viable:

Capable of growing or developing into a healthy plant.

Victory Garden:

"A wartime vegetable garden developed to increase food production esp. By home gardeners." --Webster’s. See our site dedicated to W.W. II-era Victory Gardening in America.

Back to Top


- W -

(empty)

Back to Top


- X -

(empty)

Back to Top


- Y -

(empty)

Back to Top


- Z -

(empty)

Back to Top


1)  Tomato Culture, Will W. Tracy, Orange Judd Company, pg. 100, 1919


 

Copyright © 1998 - 2014 -- All rights reserved -- the Victory Seed Company