The Q&A Archives: Squash Pollination

Question: How do I know if bees have pollinated my squash? Describe stamens and pistils so that I can pollinate myself.

Answer: Pollination occurs when pollen is transfered from stamens to pistils in the flower. Pollination usually occurs naturally, e.g., wind, bees, etc., but gardeners can also pollinate by hand. If the small fruit behind the female flower continues to grow without rotting or shriveling up, pollination has likely occured.

Stamens contain the male reproductive parts of the flower. A stamen has a slender stalk called a filament, topped by an anther, which is often yellow. The anther contains pollen.

Pistils, in the center of the flower, is the female part of the flower. A pistil consists of an ovary at the base where seeds form and a stalklike tube called a style. The style has the stigma on top, which receives the pollen.

Most flowers contain both male and female parts. Some plants have male (without a small fruit behind the flower) and female flowers (with a small fruit behind the flower)., in particular the vining crops such as cukes, squash, and melons.

You can hand pollinate the blossoms yourself by taking a small artist?s paint brush or Q-tip and rubbing the pollen from the male onto the female. I hope this info helps!

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