En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 31, 2009

From: Gadsden, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation
Title: Pollination by dwarf yaupons of normal size selections in Gadsden AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can dwarf varieties of male yaupons be used to pollinate non dwarf female yaupons? Specific males in question are Shillings (Stokes Dwarf) yaupon and Bordeaux Condeaux.

ANSWER:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) is  dioecious, with male and female reproductive structures on separate plants. This means that only the female will have berries. However, what is usually sold in the nurseries are females, because they have berries. Members of the Ilex (hollies) genus share this trait. They do not have to be right next to each other. The pollinators are bees, which can fly pretty far. We have seen figures from 40 feet to "up to a mile", and one male is usually enough for 10 females.

Commercial propagation of these dioecious plants is achieved vegetatively by planting cuttings from hollies, that is, cloning. The sex of the plant is determined in advance, as the vegetatively propagated plant always reproduces the parent type. That is why you do not often see a male shrub of a dioecious genus that produces berries sold in a nursery.

In answer to your specific question, the rule is (and we didn't make this rule, Nature did) the dioecious plant can only be pollinated by members of the same species that bloom at the same time.  The species name of yaupon is vomitoria. Assuming that the named plants you have listed are also of the species vomitoria, that will work. They probably are, because the dwarf version is more likely a selection of the same species that grew shorter on its own and plant breeders continued to develop the shorter form without hybridizing. The thing we don't know is if those selected dwarf forms will still bloom at the same time as the regular ones. They should, but again, the selection of the shorter form might conceivably change their bloom time. The bees don't have any way to store the pollen, and they really don't care if you want fruit on your bushes; they go where the flowers are and knock off. 

According to this North Carolina State University fact sheet on Stokes Dwarf Yaupon, the species is indeed vomitoria and all the plants are male and slow-growing. From the same source, we found that the 'Condeaux' is also of the species vomitoria and are also all male. 

 

More Propagation Questions

Are the seeds of my Graptopetalum paraguayense in Macon, GA fertile?
June 01, 2010 - I have a Graptopetalum paraguayense that has finished blooming. I put several of the dead flowers into a Ziploc bag and shook them around, and a few hundred seeds came out. They are oblong and very sm...
view the full question and answer

Growing Big Red Sage from Seed in San Antonio
November 04, 2010 - I harvested some seed this year from my Big Red Salvia (Salvia penstemonoides). I have searched multiple sites looking for information on growing this wonderful salvia but cannot locate any informati...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of woody plants by cuttings in Cairo, NY
May 12, 2009 - I have a tree in my yard and I am not sure what it is, it has these gorgeous pink cluster like flowers on it, my friend loves the tree and wants to know the steps to take a piece of my tree so she can...
view the full question and answer

Purchase of Galphimia angustifolia from Austin
June 08, 2014 - I have a Thryallis, Galphimia augustifolia, or Thryallis autustifolia, growing from a limestone ledge in my yard in west Austin TX. I have tried unsuccessfully to buy this native. Do you sell it at t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center