Koelreuter, Joseph Gottlieb 1733-1806

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Koelreuter was a plant hybridizer.

Between 1760 and 1766 he carried out the first series of systematic experiments in plant hybridization ever undertaken (Nicotiana paniculata x N. rustica). He found that the hybrid offspring generally resembled the pollen parent as closely as the parent upon which the seed was borne. Thus for the first time it was found that the pollen grain has an important part in determining the characters of the offspring. This was a novel idea and disbelieved by his contemporaries. He also observed accurately the different ways in which the pollen can be naturally conveyed to the stigma of the flower. He discovered the function of nectar and the part played by insects and by wind in flower pollination. He also observed that hybrid plants often exceed their parents in vigor of growth.