My Piece of Dirt

Zone 8 Gardening

Be Like a Bee and Pollinate your Cucurbits

on July 5, 2015

Laidback Gardener

20150701A The female flower has an ovary at its base.

You’ve probably noticed have noticed that squash (zucchinis, pumpkins, gourds, etc.), cucumbers, melons and other cucurbits have both female flowers and male flowers. Female flowers are few in number, but easy to see as they already bear an ovary at the base which looks like a miniature version the fruit that will form. So on a pumpkin, it will be rounded, on a cucumber, long and thin, on a pattypan squash, scallop-shaped, etc. In the center of the female flower, there’ll be a crown-shaped stigma.

20150701B No ovary on the male flower.

Male flowers have no ovary at their base. They are numerous and far outnumber the females. If you look inside, you’ll see they have a “ball” of yellow pollen on a central stamen, absent, of course, in the female. To produce a fruit, the male pollen must somehow be transferred to the stigma of a female flower.

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