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
1 rating

Thursday - April 01, 2010

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: How close to a female tree will a male Possumhaw Holly need to be planted to ensure pollination in Plano, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I would like to plant a female Possumhaw Holly in my yard. Does a male need to be planted nearby in order for the female to have berries? If so, how close must the male tree be located?

ANSWER:

Possumhaw Holly,  Ilex decidua (possumhaw), is a dioecious species which means that both "male" and "female" plants are needed for the "female" to produce those beautiful berries that persisit through the winter months.

Possumhaw Holly plants are pollinated by bees, and I found some interesting information about bees in this Agriculture Fact Sheet #111 from the Province of British Columbia. In this I learned that bees can forage as far as 8 miles from the hive. From this, one might infer that the "male" tree could be planted anywhere in your yard. If bees find one of the trees, they should also find the other.

You might look around your neighborhood to see if there are any Possumhaw Holly trees with berries. If so, chances are there is a willing pollen donor in the neighborhood as well. This website from the University of Texas at Austin suggests that even though the plant is dioecious, some "female" flowers do contain stamens that produce pollen. So you may not need to plant a "male" tree after all.


Ilex decidua

Ilex decidua

 

 

 


 

More Trees Questions

Seed germination for sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
December 15, 2007 - How can I germinate sugar maple?(step by step, please) I have some seeds but can't make them grow directly outside, so could you recommend a method which takes place inside?! I've heard something ab...
view the full question and answer

Trimming oak threatening fence in California
July 21, 2008 - I live in Diamond Springs,California,I have a large oak tree growing between my neighbors' house and mine. A large branch is cracked and in danger of falling on my fence,I would like to lighten it up...
view the full question and answer

Tree (evergreen) to grow in area with high water table
March 27, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We live in central Austin, Tarrytown specifically, just blocks from the aptly named Spring Lane. (sometimes we hit water in our back yard within 2 feet of the surface.) We los...
view the full question and answer

Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
July 28, 2013 - HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it lo...
view the full question and answer

More trees to go with live oaks in Schertz TX
July 13, 2010 - We moved to a new house that has two recently planted live oak trees. Other than those two little trees there is nothing else on the property. Because of what I read about the oak wilt I would like ...
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