Sex Expression In Cucurbits

Special Reference To Cucumber and Melon

Authored by: Puja Rattan , Sanjeev Kumar

Handbook of Cucurbits

Print publication date:  February  2016
Online publication date:  February  2016

Print ISBN: 9781482234589
eBook ISBN: 9781482234596
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b19233-17

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Abstract

The majority of flowering plants produce flowers that are “perfect.” These flowers are both stami-nate (with stamens) and pistillate (with one or more carpels). In a small number of species, there is spatial separation of the sexual organs either as monoecy, where the male and female organs are found on separate flowers on the same plant, or dioecy, where male and female flowers are found on separate male (staminate) or female (pistillate) individuals. Sex determination systems in plants, leading to unisexuality as monoecy or dioecy, have undergone independent evolutions. In dioecious plant species, the point of divergence from the hermaphrodite pattern shows wide variations between species, implying that the genetic bases are very different. The Cucurbitaceae family is characterized by the presence of unisexual flowers. The sex expression in this family is highly variable, and a single genus can contain both monoecious and dioecious species. This family includes many important vegetables collectively referred to as cucurbits. The Cucurbitaceae is a distinct family without any close relatives. All the cultivated species are found in the sub-family Cucurbitoideae. The plants discussed in this chapter are dispersed among different tribes: Melothrieae (bur gherkins, melon, cucumber), Jaliffieae (bitter melon), Benincaseae (wax gourd, watermelon, angled luffa, smooth luffa), Cucurbitaceae (pumpkin, squash), and Sicyeae (chayote). Cucurbit plants have tailing or vining growth habit; they bear tendrils and are frost sensitive and appear annually.

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