HORT410 - Vegetable Crops
Cucumber - Notes
Common name: cucumber.
Latin name: Cucumis sativus L.
Family: Cucurbitaceae [Cucurbitaceae Images].
Diploid (2n = 14).
Related species used as vegetables: muskmelon, squash, pumpkin and watermelon.
Introduced to the New World by Columbus.
Cucumber history (TAMU).
Harvested organ: immature fruit.
Used for fresh consumption (slicing cucumber), or for preservation, marinated with vinegar, salt, or spices (picking cucumber).
Warm season, frost-susceptible.
Temperature optimum: 20 to 30 C.
Separate staminate and pistillate flowers [19KB image].
Pollinated by bees: 2 to 3 bee colonies per acre are recommended.
Days to harvest maturity: 50 to 70 days after planting.
Varieties differ for earliness, disease resistance, suitability for once-over machine harvest.
Parthenocarpic varieties produce seedless fruit are used for greenhouse culture.
Optimum soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5.
Direct seeded or transplanted.
Often grown using trickle irrigation under plastic mulch.
Fresh market cucumbers harvested by hand at 2 to 4 day intervals.
Typically harvest size ranges from 5 to 8 inches in length and from 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter for fresh market.
Processing cucumber: highest prices paid for the small sizes and the lowest for the larger sizes.
Best stored at 12 - 13 C and a relative humidity of 95%.
Greenhouse cucumbers are often film-wrapped to prevent moisture loss.
Major diseases of cucumber in the Midwest:
Major insect pests of cucumber in the Midwest:
Because bacterial wilt [22KB image] is carried by the striped [20KB image] and spotted [13 KB image] cucumber beetle, an effective strategy of controlling this disease is to manage these insect pests.
Care should be taken in applying pesticides which are toxic to bees during flowering and fruit set -- decreases pollination and fruit quality.
(see: ID-56: Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2003 - Cucumber, Muskmelon, and Watermelon (PURDUE) [pdf] for information on cucumber varieties, spacing, fertilizing, irrigation, harvesting, and specific cucumber disease, weed and insect control recommendations for the Midwest)
Three different flower types --- staminate (male), pistillate (female) and hermaphrodite (both male and female).
Main sex types in cucumber:
Monoecious plants; separate staminate and pistillate flowers on the same plant
Three major genes determine sex in cucumber (M, Acr and a):
Androecious plants; staminate flowers only
Gynoecious plants; pistillate flowers only
Hermaphroditic plants; hermaphrodite flowers only
Andromonoecious; separate staminate and hermaphrodite flowers on the same plant
Dioecious; male flowers only on one plant and female flowers only on another
gynoecious = MM, AcrAcr
a is responsible for androecy and has an effect in acracr plants only.
The symbol F (female) is used synonymously with Acr.
F locus has recently been shown to be very closely linked to a gene encoding ACC synthase, a key enzyme of ethylene biosynthesis (Trebitsh T, Staub JE, O'Neill SD. 1997. Identification of a 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase gene linked to the female (F) locus that enhances female sex expression in cucumber. Plant Physiol. 113: 987-995).
Acr (F) may be modified by an intensifier gene In-Fe (In-F).
Tr determines formation of trimonoecious plants (with staminate, pistillate and hermaphoditic flowers on the same plant).
Fruit from hermaphroditic flowers are rounded, and have no economic value.
Yield potential increases with the femaleness.
If a purely female variety is grown, need to provide an appropriate pollinator.
Parthenocarpy is the ability to develop fruits without pollination. Parthenocarpy is controlled by an incompletely dominant gene Pc.
NAA and ethephon promote pistillate flowers.
Gibberellins, silver nitrate and aminoethoxyvinylglycine promote staminate flowers.
hermaphrodite = mm, AcrAcr
monoecious = MM, acracr
andromonoecious = mm, acracr
androecious = acracr, aa
Sources of information:
Foster, R., Brust, G., Barrett, B. Watermelons, muskmelons, and cucumbers. In "Vegetable Insect Management With Emphasis on the Midwest", (ed. R. Foster, B. Flood), Meister Publishing Co., Willoughby, Ohio, pp. 157 - 168 (1995).
Nonnecke, I.L. "Vegetable Production", Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY (1989).
Phillips, R., Rix, M. "The Random House Book of Vegetables", Random House, NY (1993).
Maynard, D.N. Cucumber. In "The Software Toolworks Multimedia Encyclopedia", Version 1.5, Grolier, Inc. (1992).
Tatlioglu, T. Cucumber, Cucumis sativus L. In "Genetic Improvement of Vegetable Crops", (ed. G. Kalloo, B.O. Bergh), Pergamon Press, Oxford, U.K., pp. 197-238 (1993).
Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers, ID-56, eds. R. Foster, D. Egel, E. Maynard, R. Weinzierl, H. Taber, L.W. Jett, B. Hutchinson, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, 2003.
Musmade, A,M., Desai, U.T. Cucumber and melon. In "Handbook of Vegetable Science and Technology: Production, Composition, Storage, and Processing", (ed. D.K. Salunkhe, S.S. Kadam), Marcel Dekker, Inc., NY, pp. 245 - 272 (1998).