What are Gynoecious or All Female Cucumbers (and Other Vine Crops)?

Vining crops such as cucumbers are naturally Monoecious , meaning they have both male and female flowers both of which are essential for reproduction.

Gynoecious cucumbers do not occur naturally but are hybrids which produce predominantly female flowers. Gynoecious varieties generally outproduce standard varieties when a monoecious variety is present.

A female flower will have a small, immature cucumber at its base. When properly pollinated, via insect pollinators the female flowers will develop fruit. The first flowers to develop on cucumbers are usually male followed shortly thereafter by the females.

Gynoecious cucumber seed is more costly than standard varieties but the reslults can be astounding – sometimes doubling or even tripling fruit production.

Most Gynoecious cucumbers will produce a very small amount of male flowers, roughly 5%, but it is not always enough to ensure pollination, so it is advisable to plant alongside a small percentage of non-hybrid cucumbers, preferably one of the parent varieties. Many suppliers will include a small amount of Monoecious seed as well to resolves this issue.

In additon to producing prolifically, Gynoecious cucumbers also tend to be more disease resistant.

Some varieties of Gynoecious cucumbers are:

  • Flamingo cucumber – greenhouse variety – 14 – 16 inches long.
  • Greensleeves. 7 to 8 inches long; uniform size. Early maturing.
  • Iznik 3.5 to 4 inch long cucumbers. Considered both Gynoecious and parthenocarpic. Accidental Pollination can produce undesirable results.
  • Raider. Uniform size. Does well in Cool northern climates. Gynoecious, mostly female flowers Hybrid.
  • Slice Master Hybrid. Dark-green fruit up to 8 inches. Early maturing.
  • Passandra 4.5 to 7 inches long. Good disease resistance.
  • Pepinex – English-type cucumbers 12 – 14 inches long.
  • Regal. Disease Resistant 7 – 10 inches long.
  • Saladin. Curved about 5 inches long X 1.5 inches round. Suited for greenhouses.