Melinda's Garden Moment Video
Melinda MyersNationally known gardening expert, TV/Radio host, author & columnist with over 30 years of horticulture experience and tons of gardening information to share! www.melindamyers.com
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A recent discussion on the sex of eggplant fruit inspired me to share a bit of basic botany.
Fruit, whether an eggplant, apple or orange is the product of the sex of the flowers, but they themselves do not have a sex. So, you can quit looking for the male and female bellybuttons when selecting yours in the produce department or farmers market.
Flowers contain male and female reproductive parts. Some are all in one flower, others are strictly male and others are strictly female and may occur on the same plant or different plants. That is why you see male ginkgo trees recommended. These lack female flowers and therefore do not produce the smelly fruit.
Male flower parts contain the pollen that transfers via insects, wind, water or gravity to the female flower parts. Once the pollen enters the female flower structure, fertilization and fruit formation occurs.
A bit more information: Select your eggplants based on the look and feel of the fruit. The skin should be glossy and when you gently press against the skin it should give slightly. If the skin is dull, brown or soft, it is over ripe. The fruit will be spongy, full of seeds and bitter.