Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Plants that will grow under a magnolia tree.
April 14, 2010 - We live in California near San Diego and have a Magnolia Tree. We have tried to plant many types of flowers around the tree only to have them die. Is there a particular type of plant that we should ...
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

Century plant offshoots in Denver
January 01, 2009 - Each year I get a small "baby" Century Plants in the early winter..December - January, But it dies off before summer. We live in Denver, CO My main plant is doing fine. Also, should I cut the lo...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of rain, oxblood, and copper lily bulbs
November 30, 2012 - I have Rain Lily, Oxblood Lily, and Copper Lily bulbs out of the ground, that are putting out some green growth. I would like to plant them soon. Is it okay to plant now and in December, or do I hav...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Dakota vervain (Glandularia binpinnatifida)
August 07, 2008 - Dakota Vervain. We recently moved into a new house in Henly--Hays/Blanco county line. Mother nature was kind enough to provide us w/Dakota Vervain in some of our planting beds while we are getting...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.