Friday, August 12, 2016

Gourd Flowers (this post contained a goof)

"P" asked, "If you are hand pollinating, where do you get the pollen from?" 

The pollen comes from the male flowers, which in this case are on the same plant because I only have one gourd plant. Different vegetables have different flower set ups. In the case of gourds, the plant produces separate male and female flowers. The plant starts out producing lots of male flowers, which actually confuses new gardeners. The think that something is wrong because they see lots of flowers and no fruits.  But it's the way gourds work...males first, females later. After a while the plant sends off lateral vines (side shoots) which will produce the female flowers. Thus the reason why pruning one's gourd vine to a single stem is not a good idea! 

Above, this is a male flower. Notice how the blossom is supported right on the stem? Below is a female flower. Instead of the straight narrow stem, the blossom sits atop a round miniature fruit. 

I always find lots of male flowers, but only a few females. With a little experience, the females are easy to spot. 
PS-  "S" emailed me let me know that I goofed. The above flowers are those of the Golden Hubbard squash, not the gourd. Gourd flowers are white. Yup, I goofed. but the flower structure is similar in shape and male vs female. 

Here's a female gourd flower......

And the male......

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