Understanding Botany for Aromatherapy: What is a Hybrid Plant?
The term hybrid may conjure up an image of something that is not “real” — and in some ways, this may be true. However, with regard to plants, hybrid plants, depending upon your point of view, are just as “real” as original plants and, furthermore, when used as an essential oil, hybrid plants have the potential for therapeutic properties, too; hybrid essential oils are not the same as synthetic, or adulterated, essential oils which are chemically made, or altered, in a laboratory or process plant.
Definition of a Hybrid Plant
A hybrid plant is an interspecies plant; that is, a plant that has been crossed between two different species but within the same genus (Falsetto, 2014). There are many different hybrid plants. And you will find many hybrid plants within the world of gardening; breeders attempt to create an “ideal” plant for specific climates and to produce the “best” features of the plant. The hybrid plant will share common characteristics with both of its parent plants. Hybrids are sometimes created naturally in the wild through self-pollination, but many are usually specifically bred with human intervention.
Although essential oils were originally extracted from wild plants, today, through commercialization of the industry, many common (or endangered) plant species used for essential oil extraction, are bred specifically for that use, in order to protect the wild resources. Along the way, plants have also been specifically bred to create other species – of which, several are used in aromatherapy practice.(click the next button to preview the next page)