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
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

Need trees to screen view of parking garage in Houston, TX.
December 29, 2011 - We live in Houston, TX with a beautiful lot except a 4 story parking garage has been built behind us. How can we screen this and the lights out of site. It looks terrible from the second story espec...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Quercus texana (Nuttall oak) in Alabama
March 12, 2014 - I have a 3" diameter Nuttall Oak that the builder planted when building the house. Last summer I noticed that several spots on the trunk were oozing sap (vertical approximately 1.5" long by 0.5" wi...
view the full question and answer

Texas Pistachio trees dropping leaves in Austin
June 09, 2010 - I have several Texas Pistachio that are about 13 years old. Despite good rainfall in Travis county this year, they seem to be losing most of their new leaf growth now in early June. Leaves are simpl...
view the full question and answer

Disappearance of leaves on desert willow in Tucson AZ
August 08, 2009 - We have a Lois Adams Desert Willow (Tucson, Az). The leaves will pump out and then a day or so later, all of the leaves are gone. The only bugs we've seen on it are very, very small ants. Could this ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center