Gender bending

AbsentMay 9, 2003

I was reading with some intrigue how all female varieties of cucumber are produced - basicaly to get the seeds to produce all females, a dioecous strain is grown and a female plant treated with one of a number of chemicals - silver nitrate seems about the simplest.

This blocks ethylene production in the plant and stimulates the production of male flowers which are then used to pollenate other female plants producing seed that is geneticaly all female.

I was wondering if there is a limit to this process - if I was to treat one of my own all female strains like the bimbostar, presumably it wouls still be capable of producing pollen and fertilising more plants - or are these these plants now somehow 'defective' so the process won't work a second time.

I was also wondering what on earth stimulates fruit production in an all female strain since unlike some of the seedless melon varities no males - even sterile ones are around,


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agrinerd(6b NC)

Hi Absent,

I don't think there will be a problem. I've seen female cukes produced for generations with the use of silver nitrate. One chemical-free way I've seen to produce males on female cucurbits is to grow a few in pots, then keep them pot-bound, dry and underfed to stress them out. This seems to force male flowering as a survival mechanism. You can then use these as pollinators for the ones that you didn't put under stress.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2003 at 8:44AM
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I've mixed up a batch of silver thiosulphate, time to try it out on evrything including the hops,

    Bookmark   May 27, 2003 at 7:41AM
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