I like spaghetti squash. My kids like spaghetti squash. We eat spaghetti squash A LOT.
So, when the spaghetti squash in the pantry was a little soft, I was surprised. I had only bought this squash 2 weeks ago, and since the darn things are meant to be stored for MONTHS, I was a little peeved that I had wasted my money at the store. So, of course being the little Scottish American girl that I am, I cut it open, just to see if it was really, really not edible.
Turns out it was not rotten, it was growing. Heck, the germination rate in that thing looked to be higher than in my seed cups sitting on the counter next to it.
How does this happen? While I have heard of germination of seeds inside fruit, I had certainly never seen it and even what I had heard, I had never heard it this severe.
Abscisic acid works like a treat and is the reason that plants can survive the winter. Without this enforced dormancy, they would simply sprout as soon as the fruit was mature and then their chances of making it through winter would be about the same as the Browns making it to the Super Bowl (and for those of you not from Cleveland, here is what that means – hell froze over, pigs flew, lightening struck the same spot 36 times and the Browns still would not make it to the Super Bowl).
In other words, abscisic acid acts like a mom, keeping the seed safe. But, a genetic mutation (because freak is apparently not politically correct) can occur where the seed becomes a delinquent hooligan bent on killing itself by ignoring his mother and it grows anyway, as soon as it reaches maturity. It’s like a horticultural Rebel Without A Cause meets Romeo & Juliet (I am hoping that Peter Jackson will direct it).
These seeds are referred to as viviparous mutants. These early germinators can be found commonly in corn, rice, tomatoes and squash. The mutation can be that the fruit itself does not produce enough abscisic acid or that the seeds ignore the abscisic acid.
Some people had commented that cold could trigger it (perhaps by destroying the abscisic acid), but I did not find that in any of the university papers I looked at. Though, admittedly, they were using some really big words because apparently the normal English language is just not fancy enough for science articles… But I digress… as usual.
Anyway, now that I know I have mutants growing in the pantry, I am beginning to wonder if my husband’s Frankenstein warnings about the leftovers in the fridge might cause a problem.
Added: hehe – I just realized that this was published on April Fools. While Mother Nature played an April Fools on me, I assure you, this is for real.