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I haven't studied Tractate Kilayim.

I know you can't plant grapes with wheat.

What about, say:

  • Jazz apple = Royal Gala apple X Braeburn apple ?
  • Nectarine = Peach X Plum ?
  • Nectaplum = Nectarine X Plum ?

I know we conclude that it's permitted to eat any such hybrid made by non-Jews, but I'm just curious if we could do such hybridizing.

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are you asking if you can do the cross-breading, or if you can plant the seeds of a fruit that was created through crossbreeding? –  Menachem Feb 9 '12 at 3:51

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The basic rule is that if the two types to be cross-grafted are similar either in the shape of their leaves or the appearance of their fruit, then it is permitted to crossbreed them. There are some exceptions to this, such as if the taste of the two fruits is very different. (Rambam, Hil. Kilayim 3:4ff)

Applying this rule, then, to your cases:

Rema (Yoreh De'ah 295:8) specifically states that grafting two varieties of one species - his examples are "black with white, or small with large" - is permitted. So presumably this would include the apple cultivars you mentioned.

Nectarines are actually not hybrids, according to Wikipedia. So they wouldn't be an issue.

Nectaplums might be, though, since nectarine and plum trees don't resemble each other in any of these three aspects.

All of this applies only to cross-grafting them. It is permitted to plant different kinds of fruit trees together, and similarly trees with vegetables (Yoreh De'ah 295:3-4).

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Woops my mistake about nectarines! If a nectarine is really just a kind of peach that would be okay. –  Shalom Sep 7 '10 at 0:06
    
Rambam kilayim 3:6 says almond x peach is prohibited. (See actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=470_26) Acc. to wikipedia, scientifically, almond and peach are cousins; plum and apricot are cousins; the two pairs are more distant from one another, so I'd assume no peach x plum. Probably not plum x apricot either. (See hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior/fruits/plum3.htm and hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior/fruits/apricot3.htm). –  Shalom Sep 7 '10 at 0:11
    
So what about, say, someone else did plum X apricot; can that product now be hybridized with a plum? With an apricot? I recall seeing halachos about animal breedings, e.g. can a wolf-dog hybrid be bred with wolf or dog, but what about plants? –  Shalom Sep 7 '10 at 0:14
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You can't really prove anything from the scientific classifications, because the halachic classification is based on morphology rather than on genotype. –  Alex Sep 7 '10 at 17:19
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The hybrids you find in the store (and the examples you gave in the original question) are produced by cross-pollination or other genetic manipulation, and so halachah would presumably consider them a new species, unrelated to either of the parent ones. (Then, whether it can be cross-grafted with either of those would depend on the usual three factors, as above.) In this the halachos of kilayim of trees are unlike those of animals, where the forbidden act (crossbreeding) is the one that produces hybrid offspring. –  Alex Sep 7 '10 at 17:22

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