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Parthenocarpy

Term (virginity) for unisexual reproduction or fruit development without prior fertilisation in plants, which occurs without the formation of seeds or nuclei. The phenomenon also occurs in animals, such as the vine pest, and is called parthenogenesis (virgin production). Certain hormones simulate a fertilisation situation for the unfertilised egg cell, which then begins to divide and mature into an organism. In plants, a distinction is made between inductive, spontaneously occurring vegetative and pseudo-parthenocarpy (stenospermocarpy) triggered by external stimuli. The tendency is promoted by favourable environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity. Inductive parthenocarpy is triggered by mechanical stimulation of the petal of the flower. It can also occur as a result of flower frosts, when the ovule is destroyed but the ovary tissue remains intact. True parthenocarpy is common in pineapples, apples, bananas, pears, figs and citrus fruits. Parthenocarpic fruits typically have no seeds or only rudimentary seeds (the seeds in grapes ). Virgin fruiting can also be induced artificially by treating the flowers with auxins (hormones); seedless (low-seeded) aubergines, cucumbers and tomatoes are grown in this way.

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