With all the observations from ornamental plants, Mendel contemplated on the best choice for his study to be scaled to a larger experiment. Many factors, taking into consideration all the lessons he learned from past experiments, led him to choose the common garden peas.
Of all flowering plants in his monastery, why did he choose to study the common garden peas? The shape of the flowers of the Leguminosae family was something special for Mendel. With its enclosed shape, the flowers are easily protected from foreign pollen. Mendel knew how hard it can be to exclude other external factors when cross-pollinating flowers with different traits. Again, he learned his lessons well from the Sedum flowers.
From the many plants from this family, he finally chose the common garden pea or Pisum sativum with its ideal characteristics for his experiment. It was also practical to conduct the experiments because the pea plants can be cheaply cultivated in large numbers in a relatively small space and can quickly produce offspring. Furthermore, its reproduction can be well manipulated due to its flower’s special structure.
In ending, the success of the concept of genetics was not based on pure luck. It was a product of years of hard work and thorough observations. The preliminary studies of the Mendelian genetics of Sedum plants, together with other ornamental plants, might not be as popular as the experiment with the peas but these led the way to Gregor Mendel’s more important works.