En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Determining gender of Texas Hill Country native trees

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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 22, 2006

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Determining gender of Texas Hill Country native trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

How can I identify which (Tx Hill Country) native trees are separate male & female? Specifically Tx Pistache and American Smoke Tree. Do I have to wait until they flower and inspect the flower for certain characteristics? Most helpful would be guidance to a book or article that explains the botanical characteristics, so that I can apply to other species.

ANSWER:

Plants with both male and female flowers on the same plant are said to be monoecious (in the same house). The botanical term for plants that have the female flowers and male flowers on separate plants is dioecious (in two houses). To be even more technical, the plants with only male flowers are said to be androecious and the ones with only female flowers are gynoecious—probably a lot more than you wanted to know!

Both of the trees you asked about, American smoketree (Cotinus obovatus) and Texas pistache (Pistacia mexicana) are dioecious, with their male and female flowers on separate plants. You can discover this by selecting "Characters" from the menu at the top of each plant's page. Unfortunately, not all of our records in the Native Plants Database carry that information. However, there are several print sources that do identify which plants are dioecious. Two of these are Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country by Jan Wrede (Texas A&M University Press, 2005) and Trees of Central Texas by Robert A. Vines (University of Texas Press, 1984). Of the two, the Vines book describes the structure of the male and female flowers in great detail so that you could determine which gender your tree is.

 

More Trees Questions

Sap oozing from non-native Chinese pistache in San Antonio
September 07, 2011 - I live in San Antonio, and my chinese pistache is exuding copious amounts of a sticky sap from old trim sites and from the trunk itself. The tree is about 12 years old and has been healthy up until no...
view the full question and answer

Trees for creek side in Illinois
July 04, 2008 - I have a creek that runs along my back yard, and was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on water loving trees to grow next to it. The creek gets sun all day and is located in zone 5. (so...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for Southern California coast
July 06, 2010 - I need a tree that is evergreen, non invasive roots that is not messy that can be kept at around 20 feet. We are at the edge of the thermal layer from the ocean. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of pecan trees in Las Vegas NV
October 11, 2009 - In April this year I purchased two 8-foot tall pecan trees in 3-foot square boxes from a local nursery and planted them here in Southern Nevada. I'm sure I dug a large enough hole to provide plenty ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center