By Raoul A. Robinson
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Additional info for Amateur Plant Breeder’s Handbook (2004)
Castanea spp. Chestnut. The sweet chestnut (C. sativa) is cultivated as selected clones. The American chestnut (C. dentata) has been largely destroyed by the introduced chestnut blight (Endothia parasitica). Various species are prized for their timber. Not recommended for amateur breeders . Castor See: Ricinus communis. Catalyst A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without being changed itself. Caterpillar The juvenile instars of a butterfly or moth. Cauliflower See: Brassica oleracea.
This is one of the crops that has never been found wild, possibly because hunter-gatherers exploited it to extinction while early farmers ensured the survival of domesticated forms. The crop is believed to have originated in Central America, in the area Mexico-Costa Rica. See also: Extinct wild progenitors. Carya pecan Pecans, a native of Mexico and the southern USA. Nuts are still harvested from wild trees but the majority are cultivated as clones. Some scope for amateur breeders selecting among wild trees.
Pyrethrum is open-pollinated and is an excellent crop for amateur breeders . The breeding objectives should be both a high yield of flowers, and a high pyrethrin content in those flowers. The latter can be professionally assessed in a commercial or university laboratory, or an amateur bioassay can be obtained by adding a minimal amount of powdered, dried, flower to a jam jar containing an insect such as a housefly or a bee. Some agricultural engineering will also be required in order to produce a mechanical harvester.