En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 06, 2010

From: Boaz, AL
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Male and female Maclura pomifera trees in Boaz AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

To grow a Maclura pomifera female tree, do I have to have a male tree for the female to produce fruit?

ANSWER:

Maclura pomifera (osage orange) is dioecious, which means that flowers of both sexes do not appear on the same tree. So, yes, you would need both a male and a female tree. If you are growing the tree in areas where it grows wild, that would not be an issue.

From the Great Plains Nature Center, here is an excellent article on Osage Orange. We have personal experience with this plant, in North Central Texas, which is its native habitat. It was growing on its own, on a property we had purchased. It obviously was a female tree, as it bore fruit. Equally obviously, there must have been a male in the neighborhood, because it bore fruit. While it was an interesting plant for an open property such as we had, we don't think it would be suitable for a residential property, because the fruit was very messy, especially with the squirrels sitting under it tearing the fruit to pieces for the seeds. 

From the page on this plant in our Native Plant Database, here are some excerpts that we think would be of interest to you if you are investigating growing it:

"Native Distribution: The native range uncertain. SW. Arkansas to E. Oklahoma and Texas; widely planted and naturalized in the eastern and northwestern states.
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Woodlands edge, Opening, Fence rows, Ditches, Ravines, Depressions"

And from the GNPC reference above:

"The trees will be either male or female, and only the females will produce hedge balls. The trees become sexually mature by age 10 and there is no easy way to determine the gender prior to then."

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Maclura pomifera

Maclura pomifera

Maclura pomifera

Maclura pomifera

 


 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Failure to bloom of Turk's cap in Midland TX
September 08, 2009 - My turk's cap won't make flowers. It has daily watering via irrigation system, and soft amended soil. The plant is beautiful and thriving, but no flowers. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Blackfoot daisy seed
July 21, 2015 - I have a three yr old Blackfoot daisy. How do you root Blackfoot daisy seeds? When is the best month to grow these seeds?
view the full question and answer

Propagation by seed of Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata (heartleaf skullcap)
January 15, 2008 - Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata-- Hi Mr. Smarty Plants! How do I grow this from seed?! I'm trying to propagate for a native plants garden (zone 7B). Thanks for the info! Cheers!
view the full question and answer

Propagation of skunk cabbage
December 18, 2003 - Where can I purchase root stock for a start of skunk cabbage to plant? in my wetland?
view the full question and answer

When to plant Indian paintbrush seeds
August 25, 2008 - I live in Santa Fe, Texas and I've been trying to find the right date to plant Indian Paintbrush seeds but so far have been unsuccessful. I know it says in the fall but that seems to be a broad rang...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center