Gregor Mendel chose pea plants for his experiments because they are easy to raise, have many offspring per mating, can fertilize themselves and have varieties in genotype and phenotype that are easily observable. These characteristics make pea plants ideal in the study of genetics and heredity.
Mendel observed that his pea plants had several distinguishing physical features, such as plant size and pea color, that were governed by basically two alleles, or forms of genes. In general, pea plants grow well with minimal supervision and care. They can self-fertilize, so Mendel could pollinate the plants himself. The large number of offspring produced per mating gave Mendel a good number of plants to observe and work out the ratios of dominant and recessive alleles.