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

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

Harvesting seeds on the American basket flower (Centaurea americana)
May 30, 2010 - Where are the seeds on an American basket flower? How do I get them out to propagate them? When can you get them out? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on potted plants
May 23, 2005 - How do you know when it is time to transfer a potted plant to a bigger pot? Everytime I do this my plant dies.
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in Hampton VA?
July 12, 2014 - I gave my mom Blue Bonnet seeds for her yard in Hampton VA. She is on a mission to have no lawn and loves flowers. The seeds say to plant in Texas August-November. But, when should she plant them i...
view the full question and answer

Resprouting of native prairie plants after snowstorm
April 07, 2007 - Will my prairie plants that have broken dormancy be harmed by a spring snowstorm? Temperatures have fallen down into the twenties and forecast to stay sub-freezing for five or six days. We have abou...
view the full question and answer

Ideas for first-time gardener in Chicago
December 01, 2008 - I am a first time gardener, so I know very little about planting. I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Can you give me some flower ideas that I can plant that are easy to maintain? I don'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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center