302 POLLINATION AND FRUITSET PATTERNS OF FIELD-GROWN PUMPKINS

in HortScience
Authors: S. W. Cady1 and H. C Wien1
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  • 1 Dept. of Fruit and Vegetable Science, Cornell University: Ithaca, NY

Investigations of varietal differences in pumpkin flowering and fruitset patterns were initiated in response to reports of poor fruitset by NYS growers. In addition, pollination requirements for marketable fruit were explored in one cultivar. Flowering date, fruitset, and fruit characteristics were recorded for 2 consecutive years in a RCBD of six popular Cucurbita pepo cultivars (Wizard, Happy Jack, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, Howden and Baby Bear). On average, female blossoms opened 38 days after 3-wk-old seedlings were transplanted into the field. Flowering period lasted for 3 to 4 weeks. No consistent pattern was found in female flower production nor fruitset until the last week when significant declines occurred. Each blossom only opens for one day and typically closes between 10 am and noon, limiting pollination opportunities. H and-pollination of Wizard' with various dilutions of pollen revealed that a minimum of approximately 2000 grains of pollen is necessary for fruitset. Removal of 66-75% of the stigmatic surfaces did not affect seed number or their location in the fruit, nor fruit shape or size. Fruit size was not correlated with seed number, although no fruit developed with less than 100 seed.

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