The Q&A Archives: Seedless Watermelons

Question: I need all the info you can send me on the use of the pollinator that came with the seedless watermelons seeds I just received in the mail. How and when do you use them? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Seedless watermelons are sterile hybrids that develop fruits<br>but no seeds. The seeds for growing them are produced by <br>crossing a normal watermelon with one that has been changed<br>genetically by treatment with a chemical called colchicine.<br>The seeds from this cross produce plants that, when pollinated with pollen from normal plants, produce seedless<br>melons.<br><br>In seedless watermelons, rudimentary seed structures develop, but these are small, soft, white, tasteless, undeveloped seedcoats that are eaten right along with the<br>flesh of the melon. A Japanese scientist developed the technique for producing seedless watermelons. He reported<br>his procedures in 1950. <br><br>The normal watermelon (called a diploid) has 22 chromosomes percell. By treating seedlings with colchicine, a new plant type called a tetraploid having 44 chromosomes is produced. Then, by crossing a tetraploid with a normal diploid as the pollinator, one gets a triploid (33 chromosomes) seed. This triploid seed produces a sterile hybrid plant that will not reproduce itself (much like the mule). When flowers of this sterile triploid plant (called<br>the seedless watermelon plant) are pollinated by a normal<br>plant, seedless fruits develop.<br><br>When you plantyour watermelons, just be sure you plant the pollinator seed along with the others, or you will have no watermelons. Treat the pollinator just as you would a regular watermelon plant.<br><br><br>

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