Friday, September 26, 2008


The eggplant flowers kept falling off without getting anywhere near fruiting though the plant was flourishing beautifully. What to do? I decided I needed to become a bee. In other words, I needed to pollinate the flowers myself. (Please, people, I will not tolerate smarmy risque jokes on this blog - this is very, very serious stuff.)

I took a soft-haired - say, a #0 or #1 watercolor brush and swirled it around the pistil and the stamen inside the flower. I did this every morning in each flower on the plant. Each time, I made sure that I've got some pollen from the anther (the one with the yellow powder) of the stamen transferred to the stigma or the top of the pistil.

Finally, I could tell that all this was working, because the faded flowers did not just fall off the plant like they did before. Not only did they not drop, but the receptacle and the peduncle started to thicken and before long - ah! the shiny purple bulb of what the English call the aubergine started peeking out from under the green skirt of the sepals.

For a refresher course on primary school botany, here is a drawing showing The Parts of a Flower, or in higher fallutin' terms:
Plant Morphology
The Parts of a Flower

Peduncle: The stalk of a flower.
Receptacle: The part of a flower stalk where the parts of the flower are attached.
Sepal: The outer parts of the flower (often green and leaf-like) that enclose a developing bud.
Petal: The parts of a flower that are often conspicuously colored.
Stamen: The pollen producing part of a flower, usually with a slender filament supporting the anther.
Anther: The part of the stamen where pollen is produced.
Pistil: The ovule producing part of a flower. The ovary often supports a long style, topped by a stigma. The mature ovary is a fruit, and the mature ovule is a seed.
Stigma: The part of the pistil where pollen germinates.
Ovary: The enlarged basal portion of the pistil where ovules are produced.

1 comment:

Thea said...

wow, never thought of doing my own pollination. i wonder if the plants didn't get pollinated because they were male plants. sometimes my peppers don't grow either because they were all the same sex.