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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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Friday - May 14, 2010

From: Durham, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Trees
Title: How to tell the girls from the boys in wax myrtles (Morella cerifera)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

How would I be able to identify whether my wax myrtles are male or female plants? I was given two plants last fall (that came from a family members back yard) and the person who gave them to me didn't remember if these specific ones ever have bloomed before. Now in my yard, they are both doing well but not flowering and now that I've learned that you need both male and female plants in order to get blooms/berries, but my questions is this: How do I know if I have females that haven't bloomed because there is no male around or males that haven't bloomed because they never do? Many thanks!

ANSWER:

The thing is that if they haven't bloomed or produced berries, you can't tell which is which in Morella cerifera (wax myrtle).  Both male and female plants have flowers, but only the females will produce the berries.  You can see photos of the two types of flowers on this Duke University page.  Perhaps your plants aren't old enough to have flowered.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the average age of flowering for this plant.


Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

 

 

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