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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 05, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Shrubs
Title: Non-berrying possumhaw from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a possumhaw 8 to 10 years ago for the beautiful winter color, it has never set berries. I see tiny white flowers along the branches each spring, and always hope this will be the year, but I'm repeatedly disappointed. I now have additional possumhaws sprouting up all around it, it's never showed signs of distress. Why won't it set berries?

ANSWER:

Sorry, we don't even have to look this one up. Two questions for you (you don't have to answer us)

1. Did it have berries on it when you bought it? Then, it is a female and you have no male plants within flirting distance. It is usually pollinated by bees and they can fly some distance but no males, no flowers.

2. If it did not have berries on it when you bought it, it is a male and will never have berries on it.The insignificant flowers in the spring are characteristic of males.

The thing is, most of the yaupons that are sold in nurseries are clones. They clone females and make sure they are pollinated before they go to the sales floor, so they sell, and then that's over. It is very difficult to purchase male possumhaw, because everyone wants berrying plants. The possumhaws sprouting up around are probably males, too, as this plant can also propagate itself by vegetative reproduction.

Here are some previous answers on this subject, most of which are simply repetitive:

From Austin

From Smithville, TX

From Georgetown. TX

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

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