Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First Flower!

Two flowers bloomed this morning in my squash patch! Neither were on the plant that I've been following. This one is on a plant of the variety 8-ball. It's a round, green zucchini that looks like a little green bowling ball. If you look closely at the base of the flower, you can see the ovary that will grow into a fruit over the next few days.

The other plant to bloom was the variety butterstick, a yellow zucchini. In both cases a pistillate flower was first to bloom. I haven't seen any staminate flowers in bloom yet, which suggests that there was no pollen around to pollinate the first two blooming flowers. No matter. I'm picking them as mini squash, so they won't get very big anyway.

Squash are monoecious. That's a botanical term meaning that individual flowers on the plant are either male (staminate) or female (pistillate). Female flowers have an enlarged ovary that will grow into the fruit. Male flowers have lots of pollen and nectar, but they don't make a fruit.

The plant that I've been following still has a bud, but the ovary behind the bud has been getting larger. Here it is this afternoon. Now I see a second little yellow ovary forming above the first. Meanwhile, the hill is getting steadily larger.

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