Difference between cultivated and wild plants.

In the process of evolution, mankind has been constantly remaking the world to suit its needs. And the breeding of new varieties of plants is one of the ways of this influence. Often, plants obtained as a result of improving the properties that a person needs are almost completely different from the "original", that is, the progenitor plant. Let's take a closer look at how cultivated plants differ from wild ones.

Where did the cultivated plants come from

At the dawn of its existence, humanity used what nature gave. During the transition from "savagery" (that is, an appropriating economy - gathering, hunting, fishing) to "barbarism" - a producing economy (cattle breeding, agriculture, handicrafts), a person faced the following problem. The yield of cultivated plants was low and could not meet the needs of people who chose a sedentary life, so it was necessary to somehow increase it. As a result of the selection of the best samples (selection) from "wild" plants, "cultural" ones appeared, in which the organ needed by a person - an ear, root or fruit - surpassed (in size, taste) its "uncultured" ancestor.

The main difference between cultivated plants and wild plants is that the former can exist exclusively under human supervision. People, while developing new varieties, concentrated their efforts on making the plant more productive. If wheat - then let the ear be noticeably heavier than that of its "wild" sister, if the fruit - let it be tastier and more than "wild." But, acquiring some qualities, the plants lose in others. They become unstable to external adverse influences (bad weather conditions, diseases, and so on) or, when leaving, they quickly return to their original, "wild" state. Breeders often have to make a choice: high yields, resistance to negative factors, or the search for some kind of compromise.


How to make a cultivated plant from a wild plant, mankind has been researching for millennia. Breeding methods include the following:

  • selection;
  • crossing, or hybridization;
  • polyploidy;
  • inbreeding.

With the development of genetic engineering, enormous opportunities have opened up for the breeding of new varieties of plants and new subspecies (and in the future, species) of animals. The use of genetic engineering methods will make it possible to create high-yielding varieties that are resistant to diseases and adverse conditions. True, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are considered by many to be harmful to health. And although there is no precisely confirmed data on their danger, GMOs are not used for a very long period of time to give an unambiguous answer whether they are harmful or not. Now there is not enough statistical material for this, and it is possible that negative consequences may not appear immediately, but after two or three generations.


To summarize, what is the difference between cultivated and wild plants. The table shows the features of both.

Cultivated plants Wild plants
OriginDerived from wild ancestors by methods of selection or genetic engineeringAppeared as a result of evolution
FeaturesHigh taste quality and good yield, but generally their resistance to unfavorable factors is lower than that of wild ancestors; work is underway to improve resistance by methods of genetic engineeringMostly resistant to unfavorable factors, but have low productivity and often - low taste