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
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

Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
November 03, 2012 - Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of small tree in Florida
August 31, 2012 - I live in Port Saint Lucie, FL. We have a few trees (?) growing in our yard I would like to i.d. They seem to grow quickly have smooth leaves that grow opposite one another and the underside of the ...
view the full question and answer

Plants found only in the Edwards Plateau of Texas area
March 23, 2008 - I am new to Austin, Texas and I am working with a group of 4th grade Cub Scouts on their Naturalist and Forester pins and we need to know about and have pictures of at least 6 trees and plants only fo...
view the full question and answer

Irish Strawberry tree care from Sydney Australia
April 15, 2012 - Hi I have an Irish Strawberry tree - AKA Arbutis Enedo. I have had it for a couple of years now, I have it planted in the ground quite healthy soil, I feed it Dynamic lifter (chicken manuare/pellet f...
view the full question and answer

Tree for caliche soil in Cochise County, Arizona
August 15, 2012 - What trees will thrive in areas of moderate caliche soil in southeast Arizona? My property is at 4,200 feet of elevation. Thanks for your help
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