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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 11:15-16 (article 7) 1988

Number of Seeds per Mature Fruit for Different Types of Cucumber

Todd C. Wehner and Rufus R. Horton, Jr.

Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

In a plant breeding program, it is useful to know the number of seeds per fruit to expect when plants are harvested at mature fruit stage. As a rule of thumb, we generally count on 100 seeds per fruit for the American pickling and slicing types. Seed yield per fruit increases as the plants are given more room to grow in the field, or as larger pots are used in the greenhouse (1).

In order to determine the seed yield from different plant and fruit types, we measured 8 fruits from each of 15 populations developed in the North Carolina breeding program. The populations included pickling, slicing, Middle-Eastern (Beit Alpha) and Japanese trellis (burpless) fruit types. Plant types included tall-indeterminate, multi-branched hardwickii (Cucumis sativus var. hardwickii), and dwarf-determinate.

The number of seeds per fruit varied from 24 to 423 in the populations evaluated. The elite pickle population from North Carolina had few seeds per fruit, reflecting the emphasis on slow seed development and small seedcell size. The elite pickle population from Wisconsin had the most seeds per fruit, averaging 330. In most cases, slicing cucumbers had more seeds per fruit than pickling cucumbers with similar backgrounds. For example, the wide base slicer population had 191 seeds per fruit vs. 161 for the wide base pickle population.

It appears that one could expect 150 seeds per fruit from field-grown plants, except in those populations selected for small seedcell, where 100 seeds per fruit would be reasonable. However, as many as 15% of the fruits might be deficient in seed number.

Table 1. Number of seeds per fruit from different cucumber typesz.

    No. seeds per mature fruit
Population Cucumber type High Low Mean
Pickling cucumbers        
NCWBP Wide base
273
24
161
NCMBP Medium base
236
73
151
NCEP1 Elite 1
220
39
104
WIEP1 Elite Wisconsin-U.S.D.A
423
258
330
NCEDP Elite determinate
388
119
217
Slicing cucumbers
NCWBS Wide base
234
130
191
NCMBS Medium base
223
118
183
NCES1 Elite 1
262
235
248
NCEDS Elite determinate
185
117
147
Other type cucumbers
NCH1 Hardwickii-pickling type
354
260
279
NCR1 Relish (large fruits)
309
77
177
NCBR1 Belly rot resistant
348
295
310
NCBA1 Beit Alpha
222
116
185
NCJT1 Japanese trellis
235
102
147
z Data from 8 fruit per population.

Literature Cited

  1. Wehner, T.C. and R.R. Horton, Jr. 1986. Effect of pot size on growth and flowering of cucumbers in the greenhouse. Cucurbit Genet. Coop. Rpt. 9: 47-50.
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Department of Horticultural Science Box 7609North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NC 27695-7609919-515-5363
Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 7 October, 2011