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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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Sunday - January 11, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Proximity of male possumhaw to female
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Pants, In regards to fertilization, how close by must a male possumhaw be located to a female possumhaw?

ANSWER:

This seems to be a popular question this time of year when the possumhaws are showing their gorgeous red berries. Here is an extract from a recent answer from Mr. Smarty Plants on that question:

"They don't require a nearby male to bloom, but they do in order to fruit. Both Ilex decidua (possumhaw) and Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) are members of the Ilex genus and are in the Aquifolaceae, or holly, family. All members of this genus are dioecious, which means a male must be present, of the same species and blooming at the same time, in order for the female to be pollinated and produce berries. There need be only one male for several females, but it should be within 30 or 40 feet of the females. Bees are the pollinators of these plants, and you don't want them to have to go too far to put down the pollen."


Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

 

 

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