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?


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


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


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

Germination of Passiflora suberosa in Monterrey Mexico
October 26, 2009 - Hello, I need recommendation on how to germinate Passiflora seeds. I have a Passiflora suberosa plant, not on your database but native, and have fresh fuits of it. They look very much like a blueber...
view the full question and answer

Oakleaf hydrangea in Indiana
November 18, 2010 - I was given a start of an oak leaf hydrangea by a generous friend from her garden. I have been searching for "what to expect" about this plant. I planted it last year and it grew..this year..but d...
view the full question and answer

Pollinating moth of Arkansas Yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - What is the pollinating moth of the Arkansas yucca. I have Desert willows which is the larval host for white-winged moth, but the yuccas are still not seeding. What other larval hosts plants can I p...
view the full question and answer

Pollinator to Arkansas yucca from Arlington TX
May 15, 2012 - Thank you Barbara for your answer. However, my Arkansas yuccas bloom every year, but do not set seed. I am asking for the name of the moth that pollinates them, or other native plants that serve as ...
view the full question and answer

Trillium seed collection
August 08, 2008 - I am interested in propagating trillium from seeds. When are the seeds ready to be harvested? I removed day lily pods prom the plants and then found out I had picked them too early
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center