Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Squash

This squash vine is clamoring through a hosta bed next to the patio. No one planted any squashes any where near here, but the tree rats must have missed one of the seeds provided as winter fodder. Hostas have nice leaves, but these are long done flowering, so each morning the new squash flowers are quite cheerful. They open with the dawn and by midday they are wilted. Squashes are monoecious (one-house) plants meaning that they have separate flowers for producing pollen and for producing fruit and seed. This is a pollen flower and the anthers are fused into a central column where the pollen is presented as a pollinator reward. Oh, wait, that's a floral visitor, a potenial pollinator, emerging with a considerable dusting of pollen having pretty well cleaned this flower out. The stigma of fruiting flowers is quite similar but offers no reward, a case of deception. The flowers, both kinds, are edible and can be used in cooking, usually in the bud stage. Best squash dish TPP ever had was a squash blossom souffle in Italy.  

1 comment:

Erin said...

While you're on the topic of cucurbits, I have a question for which I have not been able to find a satisfactory answer. Last year I was given a few poona kheera cucumber seeds. It was a lovely vegetable that I planted right next to some other variety of cucumber. At the end of the season, however, I decided I would save the seeds from one of the poona kheera, despite the fact that it had likely crossed with its neighbor. This year, rather late in the season, I planted those seeds, the only seeds I personally saved from last season. When they sprouted and began to grow, I was very surprised to find that they had watermelon leaves. There were watermelons growing nearby in my garden last year, but I didn't have any worry about any kind of cross between a Cucumis and Citrullus. I know what I planted, though, and I know the difference between a cucumber leaf and a watermelon leaf. Unfortunately, none of the plants have grown much and have not flowered. I would love to seed the fruit it would produce, if it could produce fruit. What in the world happened here, Science? I'm dumbfounded.