male vs female zucchini flowers

How To Identify Male vs Female Zucchini Flowers

Explaining the characteristics of male vs female Zucchini flowers is not complete without knowing their upbringing. Zucchini or Cucurbita pepo L. is a type of fruit or vegetable that belongs in the same family as Cucurbitaceae. The shape is oval and elongated like a cucumber with yellow, green, or deep green colors depending on its cultivars and stage of maturity.

Despite being widely known as zucchini, this vegetable is popular as squash in Europe. Meanwhile, French people called it a courgette. All of them are the same plant.

Moreover, this zucchini plant was first discovered and cultivated in Mexico and some Southern parts of America 8000 to 10000 years ago before it escalated to Europe. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Male vs Female Zucchini Flowers

This warm-season vegetable was then introduced to Europe by Italian immigrants when they returned from America during colonization. In addition, the cultivation of zucchini began near Milan, Italy around the 19th century. 

Considering its favorable growing conditions, they are now widely planted in sub-tropical countries where the sun shines for six to eight hours per day and has proper soil humidity for the plant to thrive.

Besides their fruits, zucchini plants also produce flowers. They consist of a male flower and a female flower that help these squash plants to reproduce. 

Difference Between Male And Female Flowers 

Why do we need to know about male and female squash blossoms? Because without them, you will not be able to enjoy your favorite squash! There are some different characteristics between the male vs female Zucchini flowers you may find interesting.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Difference Between Male And Female Flowers

Instead of having a single male or female blossom in a different plant (dioecious) like other plants, Zucchini plants produce male flowers and female flowers in one individual or known as monoecious. They generally have vibrant yellow to orange and five delicate petals that form a unique crown. 

Other than that, there is a bubble-shaped part called the ovary on the female flower that later develops into zucchini after pollinating. With these characteristics, these squash flowers are famous as the King of Flowers.

1. Monoecious Plants

The word monoecious comes from ‘mono’ which means one. In other words, monoecious plants are those bearing both male and female organs in one individual flower as a mere home. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Monoecious Plants
male vs female zucchini flowers
Monoecious Plants

Like dioecious, pollinators play an important role in the reproduction of monoecious plants. Besides zucchini, some plants that also belong to this category are coconut and corn. 

2. Zucchini Male Flowers

Compared to the female, male squash blossoms begin blooming earlier and are more striking in colors. They also have a thinner and longer stem than females whose stems are thick and short.

Additionally, these zucchini male flowers usually hang on the long, skinny stalks and are available abundantly compared to the female zucchini flowers. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Male Flowers
male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Male Flowers

Furthermore, only the male blossom does not have a swollen part at the base of the flower since they do not produce fruit. However, they are the ones that are commonly harvested even though both flowers are edible. 

3. Zucchini Female Flowers

The female zucchini flower tends to have a bigger size than the male flower. It also features an ovary, a place to bear zucchini fruit after germination. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Female Flowers
male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Female Flowers

This ovary forms a rounded part which is the distinguishing characteristic between male and female flowers of zucchini. Moreover, the female blooms in the middle of the zucchini plant while the male hangs over the entire plant. 

In addition, it is not recommended to harvest female zucchini flowers since it may affect the production of fruit. 

How To Tell If Zucchini Is Pollinated

Talking about male vs female Zucchini flowers, we will also need to know how they can pollinate. Bees are the main pollinators to help the pollination of zucchini since the pollen is sticky; thus, impossible for the wind to blow them. They will take the sticky pollen from the male and fly it to the female blossom. 

After that, pollination begins to occur. You can tell if zucchini flowers are properly pollinated by looking at the squash. If you see, the squash keeps growing longer with a bright green color. You can harvest them 60 days after or when they are about 7 to 8 inches long. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Pollinated

On the other hand, an unpollinated one will show brown color, be softer in texture, and then stop growing. Besides, poor pollination can also cause similar issues. The zucchini will turn yellow, followed by the rotting vine. Additionally, the flower blossoms may drop off the plant.

To prevent such an event from happening, you can try to hand pollinate your zucchini. There are some steps to perform this method:

  • Make sure your flower has male and female organs.
  • Take a soft cotton brush and swab gently on the male flower to collect the sticky pollen.
  • After that, carefully rub the cotton with sticky pollen to the stigma of the female flower.
  • Repeat these steps if you have more female flowers on the plant.

Flower Problems And Diseases

There are no differences between male vs female zucchini flowers when it comes to these issues. In addition to poor pollination, these squash plants often encountered some issues related to diseases and pests.

Environmental factors also have a significant influence on the health of these flowers, such as lighting level, weather, and soil conditions.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Flower Problems And Diseases

1. Lighting Level and Weather

Very windy conditions can cause zucchini plants to drop and flower petals to fall, causing failure in pollination.

Additionally, poor lighting levels will reduce the yields and slender the plants. You have to ensure your zucchini grows under six to eight hours of sunlight exposure to obtain the best harvest. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Lighting Level and Weather
male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Lighting Level and Weather

2. Soil Conditions

Since zucchini loves to grow in moist soil, water requirements must be taken into account. If you do not pay attention to the watering frequency, you will let your zucchini enter drought stress which may negatively affect its fruit production. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Soil Conditions For Zucchini Plants
male vs female zucchini flowers
Soil Conditions For Zucchini Plants

Besides, improper soil pH also affects the fruiting process since it is related to the availability of soil nutrients the zucchini plants need to thrive. Make sure the pH ranges around 6.5 to allow them to grow the fruits properly. 

3. Pests and Diseases

Other problems you may face during your zucchini planting are pests and diseases.

Zucchini are prone to some pests, like squash bugs and squash vine borers. Meanwhile, zucchini diseases are commonly caused by powdery mildew and bacteria wilt.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Plant Pests and Diseases
male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Plant Pests and Diseases

a) Squash Bugs

Squash bugs are brown, shield-shaped insects with a needle-like mouth that can suck the zucchini juice from the plant. These pests leave yellow, yellow, and stipple marks on the leaves. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Squash Bugs
male vs female zucchini flowers
Squash Bugs

Even though they are resistant to pesticides, you can still kill the young nymphs with insecticidal soap or horticultural oils. In addition, you can easily find their football-shaped, bronze eggs on top or under the foliage. Remove them immediately before it is too late. 

b) Squash Vine Borers

It is one of the pests you may find while growing zucchini. Knowing it flies so fast, thus many farmers or gardeners do not notice its presence. Squash Vine Borers are flying moths that have either red or black in color with dark wings. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Squash Vine Borers

They may not be as bothersome as squash bugs but you cannot underestimate the effect once they perch on your zucchini and leave their larvae. These larvae feed on the stems, making holes in them before letting the plant die.

You will notice dust-like waste at the base of the plant in the presence of squash vine borers.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Squash Vine Borers

To prevent the emergence of these pests, cover the lower parts of the base with aluminum foil. You can also cover the plant with a floating row cover until your zucchini plants flower.

These methods will, hopefully, prevent the female moths from laying over their eggs.

c) Powdery Mildew

Do you notice powdery layers on your zucchini leaves? If so, they may be infected by powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is a common fungal issue for vine crops like zucchini.

They will create a white-greyish powder-like coating on top of the foliage. 

Despite being only an appearance issue, some cases of severe powdery mildew infection lead to the reduction of photosynthesis which eventually lowers fruit production.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Powdery Mildew On Zucchini Leaves
male vs female zucchini flowers
Powdery Mildew On Zucchini Leaves

Therefore, it is important to choose cultivars that are resistant to this fungus, such as ‘Anton’, ‘Dunja’, and ‘Emerald Delight’. 

If you have already grown zucchini apart from the variants mentioned above, you can try applying a potassium bicarbonate-based organic fungicide or those with Bacillus subtilis.

d) Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial wilt infection often occurs in cucumbers. However, since zucchini belongs to the same family as cucumbers, it sometimes faces a similar problem. 

Erwinia tracheiphila (bacterial wilt) is spread by cucumber beetles and is unforgivable when it has infected its host. Today you will have nice, healthy zucchini plants, later they will wilt and die without warning.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Bacterial Wilt
male vs female zucchini flowers
Bacterial Wilt

Some tips to avoid this culprit is to grow your zucchini under floating row covers until they are ready to pollinate. Or, keep the cucumber beetles in check by taking yellow sticky cards and staking them above the plants. 

Zucchini Flower And Raw Zucchini Nutrition

Can you eat zucchini flowers? The answer is yes! Male flowers are the ones usually collected to consume. They come with an abundant amount of micro and macronutrients, providing your body with healthy foods. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Flower And Raw Zucchini Nutrition

In addition to the flowers, zucchini fruits also contain various nutrients that can fulfill your daily nutritional needs.  Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the explanation and nutrition table for zucchini flowers and raw zucchini!

1. Zucchini Flowers

Some may not be familiar with zucchini flowers since the fruits are the ones widely sold and distributed in the global market. But, do you know that these flowers are loaded with valuable nutrients?

In 100 g of zucchini flowers, you can obtain 22 g of carbs of which 2 g is fiber. These proportions meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1% and 4%, respectively. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Flowers
male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Flowers

They are also rich in protein, vitamin C, iron, and calcium which may be beneficial for your health. If you want to know more about its nutritional value, check out the complete nutritional value of zucchini flowers on the table below.

Table 1. Nutritional Value of Zucchini Flowers per 100 grams

ContentNutritional Value (100 g)
Calories (cal)251
Carbohydrates (g)22
Dietary Fiber (g)2
Sugar (g)2
Fat (g)14
Protein (g)6
Sodium (mg)0
Potassium (mg)0
Cholesterol (mg)0
Vitamin A (%)3
Vitamin C (%)5
Calcium (%)10
Iron (%)3
*Nutritional value is based on 2000 calories per day

Regarding the nutrients, there are no significant data in terms of differences in nutrients between male vs female Zucchini flowers. In general, they are rich in macronutrients, like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that may provide energy to support your daily activities.

2. Raw Zucchini

Compared to zucchini flowers at the same serving size (100 g), raw zucchini has lower calories. It is because raw zucchini contains lower macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. 

male vs female zucchini flowers
Raw Zucchini

Fat contributes to providing more calories in foods, where one gram of fat equals 9 calories, while carbohydrates and proteins share the same calories, 4 calories per one gram of each.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Raw Zucchini

However, the protein content is less, only 1 g/100 g, while zucchini flowers have 6 g/100 g. Regarding the vitamins, they both have a high percentage of vitamin C. For further information, kindly take a look at the table below.

Table 2. Nutritional Value of Raw Zucchini per 100 grams

ContentNutritional Value (100 g)
Calories (cal)17
Carbohydrates (g)3
Dietary Fiber (g)1
Sugar (g)2
Fat (g)0
Protein (g)1
Sodium (mg)8
Potassium (mg)261
Cholesterol (mg)0
Vitamin A (%)7
Vitamin C (%)30
Calcium (%)1
Iron (%)5
*Nutritional value is based on 2000 calories per day

Despite not being rich in macronutrients, Raw Zucchini provides higher percentages of vitamins, especially vitamin C. Since they are low in calories, Raw Zucchini may be beneficial for those in weight loss programs.


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How To Cook Zucchini Flowers

There are numerous recipes on the internet you can find to cook zucchini flowers, depending on your preferences. Some people may like crispy zucchini, while others may favor zucchini with additional ingredients like cheeses.

Here, we will show you 4 ways to cook zucchini flowers into tasty dishes!

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Flowers

1. Fried Zucchini Blossoms

This is the easiest and tastiest way to cook zucchini. We do believe everything fried will turn out tasty! You only need to prepare the batter by adding flour, salt, and pepper, then whisk in beer until almost smooth.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Fried Zucchini Blossoms
male vs female zucchini flowers
Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Add the zucchini flowers to the batter, gently remove them, then place them in the hot cooking oil until they turn golden brown in color. Remove your fried zucchini blossoms, then drain from the oil. And voila!

Your version of The Fried Zucchini Blossoms is ready to serve!

2. Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

This food is a traditional Italian cuisine that can be found on various restaurant menus in Europe. How to make it quite easy. You have to prepare the filling with ricotta cheese.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
male vs female zucchini flowers
Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Next! Make egg batter, quick-dip your filled-zucchini flowers, then add to your hot cooking oil. Fry them until golden brown. Now, the stuffed zucchini blossoms are here to eat!

3. Zucchini Blossoms With Pimento Ricotta

Take your food processor. Make puree from ricotta cheese and cream cheese using your food processor. Add crushed red pepper and pimentos, then pulse them again. Adjust the taste of the puree with salt.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Blossoms With Pimento Ricotta,(Image credit: Food & win/ Pinterest)
male vs female zucchini flowers
Zucchini Blossoms With Pimento Ricotta

Next, prepare your washed squash blossoms. Remove their pistils. Then, add your ricotta into a resealable plastic bag, and cut the tip. Pipe around 1 cm of ricotta to each blossom you have.

Your zucchini blossoms with pimento ricotta are ready to dig in!

4. Squash Blossom Rice

Another easy recipe to cook your squash blossoms! Heat the unsalted butter. Saute the onion in it for about a minute until wilted but not too brown. Add the rice, and stir well for about 2 minutes until the color turns opaque.

male vs female zucchini flowers
Squash Blossom Rice
male vs female zucchini flowers
Squash Blossom Rice

Then, add the squash blossoms, chicken stock, and one cup of water. Season with salt and paper then bring to boil until the rice is soft, about 20 minutes.

You can also cook rice in a separate way and then stuffed them into squash blossoms!

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