Identifying bittergourd flowers

My bittergourd vine has been producing flowers very enthusiastically for weeks now. Pale yellow flowers have been winking at me, but to my disappointment, they were all male flowers (the cheeky fellas!).

The male bittergourd flower.

How can you tell that it’s male? When it doesn’t have a miniature fruit at the base of the flower stem. The male bittergourd flower also blooms at the end of a thin, long stem.

The female bittergourd flower.

And how can you tell the difference without peeking “under the skirt” (behind the petals!)? :P

Just look at the centre of the flower. The male flower’s anther is ochre yellow while the female flower’s stigma is a pale greenish-yellow.

It’s always a good day when I learn something new!

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