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Talk:Heirloom plant


Questionable claimEdit

I don't think this claim is correct:

In some parts of the world, notably the European Union, it is illegal to sell seeds of cultivars that are not listed as approved for sale.

Unfortunately the citation points to a paywalled JSTOR document. The preview page of that document does not support the claim. At the least the page could stand for a better citation, but I believe the claim to be unsupported at present.

There's been discussion for the last few years re: pending EU regulations under the title Plant Reproductive Material Law. This law would mandate the registration (with license fees) of all varieties sold, and may be prohibitively expensive for smaller companies/products. However, this is pending legislation, not yet enacted.

A UK seed company has posted a status update as of July 2014. I believe that they continue to legally sell unregistered seeds.

Wurdeh (talk) 03:22, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

I don't know. Certainly, the paywalled article makes that statement. Here's a quote from it: "… picked up a packet of seeds of a long-keeping New Zealand variety of onion. "It is illegal under the law for me to sell this to you," he said. "They're not registered in what is called the European Community Common Catalogue." Hence the creation of the Heritage Seed Programme. Its 4000 members get a quarterly newsletter of tips on seed conservation; advice on which varieties of food plants grow well, and where; a location service for those in search of specific varieties; an annual seed catalogue; and the right to request up to five varieties of seeds. Because the seeds are free, the transaction is legal under the European law."
The UK seed company's statement that you point to also says "In some ways a 'worst case' scenario might be if the new law was abandoned entirely, and the EU pushes the UK Government to enforce the existing laws much more strictly." That sounds rather as if the UK is ignoring the EU law, and the EU law is as this article here says. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:10, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Revdrace (talk) 22:40, 29 February 2016 (UTC) It's much more difficult to prove that something *isn't* true than to assert that it is... but as far as I can tell, selling unregistered seed varieties is not illegal in the EU. This article: suggests that it was illegal from 1970-1998, but in 1998 a new directive loosened the previous regulations. The paywalled citation given in the article is from 1995, thus would predate the revisions to the regulation. The massive protest against the Plant Reproductive Material Law in 2013/2014 would not make a lot of sense if it were already illegal. Finally, this site suggests that selling of non-registered seed for commercial use (farming) is illegal, but makes no mention of selling seed for personal use: .

The legality is also discussed in the Seed swap article.Dialectric (talk) 22:46, 29 February 2016 (UTC)


I agree with the May 25 suggestion that heirloom seed be merged into this article. They are covering the same topic and this one has been written with a higher quality of writing. As there has been no discussion regarding the merge after two months, I will go ahead and redirect heirloom seed to this article and merge or rewrite anything pertinent from there into this article. --MPerel 18:31, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Agriculture portal?Edit

I wonder if it would be appropriate to add the {{farming}} template to this article? Also, perhaps, add heirloom plant to the 'particular' section of the template? Anchoress 22:52, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Please do not do this now. That template is under discussion on it's talk page and at Wikipedia:WikiProject Agriculture. It is very long and unwieldy and proposals for changing it substantially are currently being discussed.--Doug.(talk contribs) 19:10, 7 November 2007 (UTC)


"To be an heirloom, a plant must be "open-pollinated" No. Whoever wrote this was unaware that heirloom potatoes are not grown from seed. This doesn't apply to heirloom apples and other fruits, either: they are propagated from cuttings. I'm sure there are other exceptions. --Wetman (talk) 04:51, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Heritage vs HeirloomEdit

Please distinguish between these two terms. "Heritage" is used rather than "Heirloom" in the section about the UK.Rolyatleahcim (talk) 21:04, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

They mean the same in this context. "Heritage" is the more usual term in the UK, but "heirloom" is increasingly common, perhaps influenced by American usage. --Ef80 (talk) 12:54, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

To be fixed laterEdit

One school of thought places an age or WILL date point on the cultivars.

--- (talk) 17:02, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Colombian legislation re: legality of saving seedsEdit

This statement and the supporting reference is problematic.

In some jurisdictions, laws have been proposed that would make seed saving itself illegal.[1]

According to an acquaintance who has read the original legislation in Spanish: The resolution made agreements between farmers and seed-sellers legally enforceable contracts ... meaning they couldn't save and replant patented seed. Before this resolution, it was unclear whether Colombia patent law would cover modern seed technology, and without it, none of the seed sellers were willing to do business with Colombia. Any growing and saving of seed from local non-patented varieties was still OK.

Unfortunately the original URL to the Columbian legislation is 404. Wayback Machine has a copy, in PDF format without any underlying text. Are there any wikipedians with Spanish language skills who want to take a crack?

It seems that anti-GMO / anti-globalization activists have distorted the real nature of the law, which only prohibits replanting patented seeds. Wurdeh (talk) 22:48, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Colombia farmers' uprising puts the spotlight on seeds". GRAIN. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
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