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pollination services

    Vegetables  for  seed

Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

Vegetables grown for seed may be self-pollinating (e.g. lima beans, tomatoes and peas), require cross-pollination (e.g. cabbage, radish) or be able to successfully set seed from a process of self and/or cross-pollination.  Some species of vegetables have male and female flowers on individual plants (e.g. asparagus, spinach and some hybrid cucumbers) and require movement of pollen from the male to the female flowers to set a viable seed (Westerfield 2008).  The larger proportion of vegetables are able to both self-pollinate and cross-pollinate which includes more common vegetables such as carrot, onion, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber and celery. 

Several authors have demonstrated the benefits that pollinating insects (in particular honey bees) provide for the yield and quality of seeds grown on vegetable crops.  Devkota et al. (2003) found that honey bee foraging improved both yield and quality of broccoli seeds in an experiment conducted in Nepal.  Sharma et al. (2004) demonstrated the benefits of honey bee pollination on the yield and quality of carrot seed produced in a series of pollination experiments conducted in India.  The yield, quality and emergence rate of onion seed was also found to be significantly improved following open-pollination by honey bees in a study by Yucel and Duman (2005), using cages to exclude large insect pollinators.

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