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help with gardening terminologies

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a ( on
Mon, Nov 7, 11 at 19:08

Long story short, in 2009 I tried to grow a typical cucumber; one that has male and female blossoms, requires insect pollination.

It bore blossoms and immature baby cucumbers; however they shriveled up and died, and I was told the cause of this was lack of and/or poor pollination.

This year I ordered a seed packet that was referred to as 'parthenocarpic', meaning it can set fruit without insect pollination.

This is where I become confused, because I saw another gardening terminology about cucumbers (and zucchini) that don't require insect pollination referred to as 'gynecious', which means it's all-female, with a 10% pollinator added.

The main question I have about this, is a parthenocarpic variety, all-female, or is it mostly female, but still has some male blossoms, OR is it neither of these, and simply means it's self-pollinating, meaning it doesn't require pollination from insects to set blossoms, and have the fruit reach maturity.

I could really use clarification with both of these terminologies, because they're so similar, that it's causing some confusion to me. I saw these terminologies in a seed catalog, when perusing the varieties of cucumbers they had to offer, and up until that point, had never heard of them.

With the 'gynecious' does this mean that it's all-female blossoms, and is self pollinating, meaning it doesn't require insect pollination to set blossoms and bare fruit. OR, does a gynecious variety mean it's simply all female, but still requires insect pollination?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: help with gardening terminologies

AsI understand it:

- Parthenocarpic means that the plant will set fruit without pollination. I don't know if it in any way defines whether the plant also has male blossoms, but it doesn't need them.
- Gynoecious means that the plant produces almost entirely female flowers, and therefore it will not set fruit unless you add at least one plant of a different variety, one that does produce male flowers, to pollinate your gynoecious plant. So it does require insect pollination.

So if you're having trouble with insect pollination you want parthenocarpic.

RE: help with gardening terminologies

Chickenfreak covered it well. On additional note, Parthenocarpic means it will form fruit but without seeds. If a parthenocarpic variety is pollinated it will form seeds, which is why they are usually isolated as in a green house.

RE: help with gardening terminologies

Other options:

= hand pollination (requires a time commitment on your part).

= encouraging pollinators in your garden: planting flowering plants that will attract pollinators at the same time as the cucumbers are flowering; avoiding insecticide use; buying mason bees or other pollinators. You might consider asking your local Cooperative Extension office for tips as to what works well in your area:

RE: help with gardening terminologies

+++ 'gynecious', which means it's all-female, with a 10% pollinator added. ++++

If you open a seed packet of this type, a few of the seeds will be a different color - usually red - from the majority of the seeds. That means you have to have at least one of those red seeds to come up and live to get your other plants pollinated.

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