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?

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
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 Trees Questions

Treating splits in a Cottonwood tree trunk
August 09, 2014 - How to treat slipts in trunk of 4 year old Cottonwood tree.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for Phoenix
November 17, 2013 - I need your help. I'm looking for a pretty evergreen tree for my small front yard in Phoenix. One that is not horribly messy and doesn't get wider that 10 - 15 ft. I want to be able to decorate at...
view the full question and answer

Wound to ash tree in Connecticut
January 29, 2009 - My parents live in CT and there is a ravine on the side of their property with a beautiful ash tree on the bank. A week or two ago a drunk driver crashed their car into the ash. Now the tree has a l...
view the full question and answer

Holes in leaves of wax myrtle from Austin
April 30, 2011 - I just purchased 4 of the 5 gallon Wax Myrtles at the last spring plant sale and after planting them, they are getting eaten by bugs leaving holes in the leaves. I can't find any of the bugs doing th...
view the full question and answer

Cherry laurels next to retaining wall in Austin
September 18, 2010 - My neigbors have 2 cherry laurel trees in their back yard planted within 4 feet of my retaining wall and fence. I am worried the root system will damage my retaining wall. The branches are already pus...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center