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What Are Parthenocarpic Cucumbers?

Parthenocarpic Cucumbers

Whenever I repeat the term parthenocarpic cucumbers the response usually this…”what the heck are parthenocarpic cucumbers?”

That’s a reasonable response. Most times, people are really interested about the makeup of the fruit or vegetables they’re eating and usually want to enjoy them.

But this is an article on parthenocarpic cucumbers following a question received from a subscriber so I’m going to try to answer it as simply as I can. 

Parthenocarpic cucumbers (Cucumis sativus var. sativus) are a type of cucumber that bears fruit without having to go through the process of pollination.

Parthenocarpic cucumbers are self-pollinating, meaning they produce fruit without relying on another organism to carry out the process of pollination.

It is a natural phenomenon and can be found in various plants like cucumbers. They are seedless cucumbers that grow without being pollinated by male flowers. They are genetically female and can produce seeds by themselves.

So What’s The Difference Between A Parthenocarpic Cucumber And Normal Cucumber?

parthenocarpic cucumberWhen you are grocery shopping and reach for a cucumber, have you ever wondered what the difference is between a parthenocarpic cucumber and a normal cucumber?

Actually, I’m tipping of you will say “not really”.

But for the sake of this article, a parthenocarpic cucumber is a cucumber that does not require pollination in order to produce fruit. 

The fruit will be seedless and will look like a regular cucumber.

A normal cucumber, on the other hand, requires pollination in order to produce fruit. The fruit will contain seeds and may be different in size or shape than a parthenocarpic cucumber.

So why would you want to buy a parthenocarpic cucumber over a normal one?Parthenocarpy is an important trait for commercial growers because it allows them to produce seedless fruit without having to rely on pollinators.

A cucumber that needs pollinators to produce fruit is called a Gynoecious cucumber.  

Gynoecious cucumbers require pollinators because they are not self-pollinating.

Parthenocarpic cucumbers on the other hand, as we mentioned above, are self-pollinating.

This means that they do not need a pollinator to produce seedless fruit, and this trait is desirable for commercial growers because it allows them to produce seedless fruit without having to rely on pollinators.

So there you have the difference between the two. This is important actually because like other fruits and vegetables, many prefer seedless over produce with seeds.

And with today’s technology playing a bigger role in farming techniques, seedless versions of produce are becoming more and popular.

Why Are Parthenocarpic Cucumbers Better Than Normal Cucumbers?

what are parthenocarpic cucumbersParthenocarpic cucumbers are considered better than normal cucumbers because they have higher levels of water content and less sugar.

This is because they have a special gene that blocks the production of the hormone ethylene, which is responsible for cucumber softening.

The cucumber’s tissues are also more porous than normal cucumbers, which allows for a faster uptake of water and nutrients.

I just want to add a caveat here that it seems to be assumed that the Parthenocarpic variety are better than the normal cucumbers. But I’ve found plenty of people who love cucumbers that prefer the latter.

As a son of Italian immigrants, my parents wouldn’t hear of seedless cucumbers.

They wanted the seeds in them. One of the major reasons is that they like to get a supply of growing seeds for the next season.

Growing up and learning from them, they were fabulous vegetable and fruit growers who learned from their own parents.

Meanwhile, cucumbers are considered a mild to warm-weather plants that thrive in the temperate climate of North America.

The cucumber growing season is 45 to 70 days. In the summer, it grows best at temperatures ranging from 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit, while in winter and fall it will grow best in temperatures ranging from 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The cucumber is known as an annual plant which means it will survive for the growing season before withering away.

Some varieties of cucumbers are more heat resistant than others, meaning that they can withstand temperatures up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Probably the most heat-resistant variety is the Lebanese cucumber, which can grow up to six to seven inches in length. The Armenian Yard variety is considered the longest in length.

A Cucumber Recipe You’ll Love!

cucumber recipeCucumbers are usually grown for pickling or eating fresh. However, there are some cucumber varieties that can be used for other purposes such as making vinegar, jams and even wine. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a delicious yet simple way to enjoy cucumbers, check out this recipe!

It’s simple and easy to make, and best of all – it’s delicious. Cucumber Salad Recipe:

Ingredients: 

1 large cucumber, peeled and diced (either seeded or seedless)

1/4 cup diced red onion 

1/4 cup diced green bell pepper 

A 1/4 cup white vinegar 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 tablespoon sugar 

1 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

Instructions: 

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, diced red onion, bell pepper, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss further to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

That’s definitely simple. Even simpler is this cucumber recipe. This is my favorite and was growing up.

All you do is add cucumber and diced tomato, about an even portion of each, add some fresh parsley, a little minced garlic, some red onion, olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons) and salt to taste.

This usually was our evening salad prior to or after out main meal growing up on the farm three to four times a week.

It’s even better following a bowl of pasta or eaten with fresh bread. If you have a favorite cucumber recipe, please share it in the comments.

Conclusion: Parthenocarpic Cucumbers

hybrid fruitIn conclusion, parthenocarpic cucumbers are a great choice for gardeners looking for a productive and easy-to-grow cucumber variety.

These cucumbers are resistant to many common diseases, and they produce a large yield of fruit.

Best of all, parthenocarpic cucumbers can be grown without pollination, so you don’t need to worry about bees or other pollinators.

I honestly started out thinking this was going to be a short article but it’s amazing what you can learn about a fruit or vegetable when you dig a little deeper.

And please, enjoy the simple cucumber recipes I posted. As I mentioned, used either seeded or seedless, it’s your preference. And once again, please share your own best recipe.

What Are Parthenocarpic Cucumbers
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JD Dean

Growing up on a farm gave me and my family some huge advantages. One of them was learning to grow our own food. Apart from acres and acres of crops, we had a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden plus, we canned our own food. I’m hoping to pass on some of this expertise and experience to you.

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