Friday, July 3, 2020

Of hermaphrodite and other strange flowers of the Spuredda Tarantino

As those who know me would probably already know, I am always looking for new information and research in the area of cucumber-melons. Of particular interest to me was an article about the crossing of a Mediterranean snake melon with an Indian hermaphrodite melon. The article is entitled, “Impact of Breeding Hermaphroditic Melon on Early Production and Yield: Case of Snake Melon (Cucumismelo var. flexuosus) and Tibish (C. melo var. tibish)”  Though I know this is not the most thrilling thing to all of you, I found it pretty interesting and wondered what it would be like to grow some hermaphrodite carosello fruit. Shortly thereafter, I discovered some strange-looking female flowers growing on one of my Spuredda Tarantino. Could it be? If not a hermaphrodite flower, it is at least a complete or perfect flower (having both male and female parts on the same flower). I was able to self-pollinate each flower, which would lead me to believe that it was capable of self-pollinating if there was ample wind, but I’m not sure if they would have self-pollinated in a greenhouse (without insect pollinators).

A "perfect" melon flower with both male and female parts.

The first time I identified the strange female melon flowers

A closeup of the half-female flowers

The female flower getting ready to set fruit

The perfect melon flower with both anthers and stigma

Despite growing the fruit out and collecting the seed, I’m not exactly sure what to do with the seed now. I’m at a point of thinking “Now what?” Will another generation of this seed produce weird-looking fruit or will it produce something that looks different from the parent fruit? I’m not exactly sure. If someone more knowledgeable than myself knows, please leave a comment below.

Along with the hermaphrodite flowers there were a couple of double flowers. I find it interesting that both the hermaphrodite and double flowers appeared around the same time, early in the season – though not on the same plant. I knew that the double flower may have aborted or not grown fully, so instead of chancing something it, I intervened and pulled it early. Though still – double flowers are kind of interesting to see.

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