Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Sunday - August 19, 2012

From: Gage, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Vines
Title: How to distinguish male and female grape vines in Gage OK.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Are there male and female plants for wild grapes? If so, how do we tell the difference?

ANSWER:


Grapes are in the genus Vitis in the family Vitaceae, and there are numerous species and varieties of grapes grown in the United States. This link to okwildcrafting.com indicates at least 11 species growing in Oklahoma with the species Vitis acerfolia occurring in Ellis County.

Lets clear up a little terminology before we continue. If a plant species has flowers that contain both pistils and stamens, the flower is termed perfect, and the condition is termed monoecious (or hermaphrodite in some cases). In many cases the flowers can self pollinate. If a species have pistillate (female) flowers  on one plant and staminate (male) flowers on another, the condition is termed dioecious. In this situation you would need “male plants” and “female plants” in order to produce grapes.

A widespread species of wild grape is Vitis mustangensis (Mustang grape). Looking through this link to plantsforafuture.org, we find that the mustang grape is considered monoecious (both male and female flowers on the same plant).

If you look through this article from AgriLife Extension you will find this statement
“Wild grapevines, rootstocks (and a few cultivated varieties such as St. Pepin) have either pistillate (female) or staminate male flowers -- that is, the entire vine is either male or female. Vines with female, pistillate flowers need nearby vines with staminate or perfect flowers to produce fruit. The majority of commercial grapevine varieties have perfect flowers, that is, both male and female components.”
 
So the situation isn't as simple as one would like. The answer to the question then is to look at the flowers, and the AgriLife Extension article has some pretty decent photos of perfect flowers. When you examine the flowers from your vines, look for the stamens and the pistils;if they are both present, you have a perfect flower; if the stamens are missing, you have a female flower and thus a female plant. It may have produced grapes last spring. If you find stamens and no pistil you have a male. You will need a magnifying glass, or hand lens, to do your examination.

For some help closer to home, you msy want to contact the folks at the Eiils County office of Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

 

More General Botany Questions

Herbarium locations for Bifora americana
May 12, 2007 - Dr Hampton: I am trying to find specific locations of populations of Bifora americana (prairie bishop). Apparently, many collections of this species have been made in the Dallas-Ft Worth area as we...
view the full question and answer

School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
October 18, 2013 - Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this proj...
view the full question and answer

Mycotrophic plants that develop underground for years in Alabama
January 10, 2006 - I recently heard someone say that there was a plant that took seven years to grow. They stated that the seed is in the ground but it begins the growth under ground but does not come to the surface for...
view the full question and answer

Do yuccas die after blooming?
October 11, 2010 - We have a blue yucca which was planted 2 years ago and is just now blooming with a tower of white flowers. Will the entire plant die after blooming as the century plants do? If so, is there a way to s...
view the full question and answer

Why plants grow in very hot or very cold areas from Edison NJ
October 06, 2013 - Why can some plants grow where very cold or very hot?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.