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

Graywater with soap on trees and shrubs from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I previously asked you about using rinse water from our top loading washer to water trees and flowers. I have two more questions: Can I use the soapy water to water trees and shrubs? Then I get...
view the full question and answer

Problems with sophora secundiflora
April 19, 2008 - My mountain laurel is looking bad. It has lost of its leaves, especially on the lower part of the tree (it's about 7 feet tall) and many of the remaining ones don't look good - they are curled up an...
view the full question and answer

Trees that aren't poisonous or don't have poisonous berries for dogs
January 20, 2010 - What trees are not poisonous or have poison berries for dogs?
view the full question and answer

Treatment of black mildew on magnolia
April 17, 2008 - I think my magnolia has black mildew. How do I treat it?
view the full question and answer

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

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