Vine Crops Produce Two Types of Flowers

Uploaded by UIExtension on 24.07.2012

Gardeners who plant crops like cucumbers, squashes, and a variety of melons, are often
perplexed when they see lots and lots of flowers on their plants, but they only result in a
few fruit. And they say, “Well, how come? Lots of flowers, I should get lots of fruit.”
Well, not really. All these crops I mentioned produce both male and female flowers on the
same plant, and it’s only a female flower that’s going to give you a fruit. And so
the next question is, “Well, how do you tell the difference?”
Well, if we look down over here, you can see that on this cucumber plant, there’s a male
flower right here, and a female flower right here. The difference is, behind the female
flower, is a small immature cucumber. Now the pollen from the male flower has to come
over to the female flower and fertilize it. At that time, this will then become a pollinated
fruit, and that fruit will enlarge so that you can become a full-sized cucumber, or squash,
or melon.
So what you’re seeing happening here is lots and lots of flowers, and on all these
crops, the male flowers come out first, followed by the female flowers. So, if you’re looking
at your crop and seeing all these flowers, but you don’t see any immature fruit behind
it, those are all males. The female flowers will soon follow, and you’ll start to get
So don’t worry about you won’t get any fruit. You will. You have to have the male
flowers. And if you don’t get pollination, this will abort, in other words it will turn
yellow and fall off. Insects are vital to this whole process, so if you see bees working,
be thankful. If you don’t see bees working, sometimes people will take pollen from the
male flower on a watercolor brush and deposit it into the female flower, thus fertilizing
it, thus giving you a fruit.
So kind of an interesting concept of these crops, but they do produce fruit, and you’ll
have lots of it, if you just know the difference.