The common onion, including the shallot. This vegetable is an excellent subject for breeding by amateurs. There are many different types of onion, ranging from sweet to pungent, and from deep red to white. And there are many parasite problems of onions, all of which can be either solved or greatly ameliorated by breeding for horizontal resistance. Onions are open-pollinated but flower only in their second season. The parasite screening should be undertaken in the first season and it should be based on both yield and appearance after exposure to major infestations of parasites. The best selections are stored, and this constitutes a second screening for resistance to storage rots and pests. The storage survivors are planted out and allowed to flower, but a negative screening decapitates the worst plants, and only the best individuals can form pollen and seed. New varieties can consist of either improved populations (synthetic varieties) or hybrid varieties. The latter procedure requires more work but has the advantages of higher yields and complete protection of seed production.
The wild progenitors of onion are extinct.
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