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

Looking for a plant to use as a windbreak for a small orchard in Pineville LA.
February 28, 2011 - We are looking for a good plant to use as a wind break for our small fruit orchard.
view the full question and answer

Tree Lost Leaves
September 05, 2013 - Are leaf cutter ants found in Michigan too? My leaves are being completely stripped off the tree. It went from growing very well when we planted it, to having completely no leaves at all. I know the l...
view the full question and answer

Why will my Butternut trees not produce nuts in Tennessee?
May 06, 2009 - I have 2 butternut trees planted about 20 ft from each other. I see the long blossoms on each tree but I have not gotten any nuts from either tree. I do not know if I have a male and female or if th...
view the full question and answer

Bird-attracting trees in Marble Falls TX
May 24, 2010 - What fruiting trees/shrubs other than red mulberry are good to attract native birds (and for bird watching opportunities)? We'd prefer native species, but does white mulberry attract as many bird sp...
view the full question and answer

Planting live oak trees in summer in Austin
June 09, 2011 - We would like to plant a few live oak trees in our front yard for shade and animal protection. As it is very hot and dry right now, can we plant now? If not, when?
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