Friday, March 19, 2010
I have been labouring under the illusion for years that gynoecious cucumbers produced cukes in the absence of any need for male flowers. Apparently that is not so! I am now given to understand that the seed sellers include a marked, male flower producing cucumber seed, or two, to grow up to be a big boy and fertilize the gynecological crowd. This seems eminently more sensible, but why didn't I clue into this before? I think it is because when I ordered seeds of Carmen,a cuke that has performed well for me in the greenhouse,it costed out at about $2.00 a seed and there were only 5 seeds in a packet. Which seed ,if any, was the male flower producer? If "he" didn't germinate was I stuck? The answer in fact is that Carmen is a parthenogenic cuke! There is no need for a male! What we have in some plants and some lower order animals and some experimental species is a looming crisis to the "drones" of the world. It's been coming for a long time , slowly and inexorably. Boys, you had better get to work to find your niche before it's too late! You may have thought the sperm bank would be your nemesis. but there is now even a larger cloud over the horizon, Parthenogenesis. And moreover, the offspring of these cucumbers, Carmen, are all sweet females. Prolific and nonbitter!