Parthenocarpy in Summer Squash

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY 14456-0462
  • | 2 Department of Horticultural Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY 14456-0462

Summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultivars were compared for ability to set parthenocarpic fruit. Some cultivars set no parthenocarpic fruit and others varied in the amount of fruit set when not pollinated. The degree of parthenocarpy varied with season, but the relative ranking of cultivars for parthenocarpy was generally similar. Cultivars with the best parthenocarpic fruit set were of the dark green, zucchini type, but some cultivars of other fruit types also set parthenocarpic fruit. A summer squash cultivar was developed that combines a high rate of natural parthenocarpy with multiple disease resistance. Yield of summer squash plants grown under row covers that excluded pollinating insects was as much as 83% of that of insect-pollinated plants in the open.

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