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
1 rating

Wednesday - September 22, 2010

From: SaddleBrooke, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Are there male and female mesquite trees and do both have seeds?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do both male and female mesquite trees (all species) have seed pods?

ANSWER:

As far as Mr. Smarty Plants knows, Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite) and all species of Propsopis have perfect, or bisexual, flowers with both stamens (male parts) and pistils (female parts) on the same flower.  Some other plants have separate male and female flowers on the same plant.  These plants are referred to as monoecious.  Still others have separate plants with male flowers and separate plants with female flowers and are called dioecious. Since mesquite trees have perfect flowers with both male and female parts, any mesquite tree has the potential to produce seed pods.  However, in some years the environmental conditions may be such (e.g., late freeze that damages flowers) that the plants don't produce a great number of seed pods.  Here is a link to more information about plant sexuality.

I did find a reference to a paper that says that Prosopis chilensis, P. pugionata, P. flexuosa, and P. forquata are andromonoecious, meaning that the plants have some perfect flowers that have both male and female parts and other flowers that function strictly as males.  Since there is a mixture of flowers on the plants, those flowers that still function as females would produce seeds. 

If you live near a university, you might be able to find a copy of the paper.  It is:

Hoc, Patricia S., Maria A. Agullo, and Ramon A. Palacios.  1994.  "Stylar trimorphism in four functionally andromonoecious Prosopis species (Mimosaceae)".  Plant Systematics and Evolution 190:143-156.

 

More Trees Questions

Black Walnut tree in LA
March 12, 2012 - I was just given a black walnut tree and am trying to determine where to place it. I’ve read on your site that “Certain plants will not grow under Black Walnut trees because of the juglones that the ...
view the full question and answer

Twig girdlers attacking an Elm tree in Wimberly, TX.
October 27, 2009 - I was looking at my small 6' cedar elm and noticed that four (4) 1/2" limbs have circle cuts a 1/8" wide completely around them and they are dead. Is this some insect or maybe a bigger critter? I h...
view the full question and answer

Oak roots damaged by ax from Austin
July 03, 2013 - Hello. I am attempting to create my own tiny copy of the Wildflower Center within my yard. I'm using all native, drought tolerant plants. My front yard is full of live oaks. I used a sod cutter la...
view the full question and answer

Lopidea texana nymphs and adults feeding on Mountain Laurel in March
April 04, 2006 - What is the species name of the bright red bug (Miridae) nymphs and adults that are feeding on Texas Mountain Laurel leaves at this time (March 24) at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Trees with non-invasive roots or tops in Newhall CA
November 07, 2011 - We would like to plant a tree with noninvasive roots near our garden wall and concrete driveway in a grassy area in the front yard facing west. This spot is very sunny in the afternoon with automatic ...
view the full question and answer

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