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
2 ratings

Thursday - January 13, 2011

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Shrubs, Trees
Title: At what age does Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) begin to flower in Pflugerville, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

At what age does a female possumhaw (Ilex decidua) usually bloom and set fruit? Or is there a way to identify the female other than by the presence of berries? I grew a number from seed and want to plant the females where they can show off. The seedlings are a couple of years old now.

ANSWER:

Germinating your own Possumhaw seeds is a real do-it-yourself project. Congratulations! As you realize, Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) is a dioecious species that has "male" and "female" flowers on separate plants. I prefer the terms staminate for the "male" flowers and pistillate for the "female" flowers, but some of my colleagues don't. You also realiize that your seedlings are most likely a mixture of staminate and pistillate plants. It would be quite unusual if this were not the case, but you won't be able to tell the difference between the two until they begin to flower. You will to need to have a few staminate plants around to pollinate the pistillate plants so you can get those beautiful red berries that you are waiting for.

I sent a note to Sean Watson, our Nursery Manager, and this is his reply;
"I would think Possumhaw seedlings could flower in as little as two years, but could take 3-5 years depending on growing conditions."

So it looks like you still have some waiting time before you know which is which. Keep taking care of the plants, and good luck with your project.

 


Ilex decidua


Ilex decidua

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Comparative speeds of flowering from seeds or bulbs
March 24, 2006 - Does a seed flower grow faster than a bulb flower?
view the full question and answer

Crossbreedding of Lupinus polyphyllus and L. perennis
June 25, 2007 - Hello, can Lupinus polyphyllus and L. perennis crossbreed? I have both and want to keep perennis genetically pure, is the only way to do this is to get rid of the polyphyllus?
view the full question and answer

Iris brevicaulis in Southwest Michigan
April 22, 2007 - We live in Kalamazoo, MI (Southwest Michigan Zone 6) and discovered last year that we have an iris brevicaulis (we think) growing (and very pretty) on our property. It has the "zig zag" stem. It see...
view the full question and answer

Care and propagation of American Beautyberry
July 20, 2007 - We have an American Beautyberry growing on our lot. Before we fenced the backyard it was browsed by deer, and survived by wedging itself between the fence and a juniper tree. How can we: 1. encou...
view the full question and answer

Pollination by dwarf yaupons of normal size selections in Gadsden AL
May 31, 2009 - Can dwarf varieties of male yaupons be used to pollinate non dwarf female yaupons? Specific males in question are Shillings (Stokes Dwarf) yaupon and Bordeaux Condeaux.
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