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

Sunday - June 30, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Does Nolina lindheimeriana have separate male and female plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

RE: NOLINA LINDHEIMERIANA You show several pictures, with flowers & with seed pods. I have one plant that has only flowers and one that has only seed pods. Are they male and female? I don't see anything mentioned in the info about?

ANSWER:

According to the Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas by Donovan Correll and Marshall Johnston (1979), Nolina lindheimeriana (Devil's shoestring) and all species in the Genus Nolina are polygamo-dioecious.   Their Glossary (pp. 1745-1764) defines polygamo-dioecious as: "Polygamous but chiefly dioecious."  To understand that definition you need to know that their definition for:

  • polygamous:  "Bearing unisexual and bisexual flowers on the same plant."
  • dioecious:  "Having staminate and pistillate flowers in different plants."

You can see pictures of the flowers on Frio Canyon Nature webpage.

Here are more photos from the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants from the University of Texas and here is a photo of a bee pollinator on the blossom of N. linheimeriana.

To answer the question about your particular plants, the one with seed pods either had pistillate (female) flowers or perfect flowers (pistillate and staminate structures in the same flower) to produce the seed pods.

If the plant with flowers hasn't/doesn't eventually produce seed pods, then either all its flowers were staminate (male) flowers or they were pistillate or perfect flowers that were not successfully pollintated.

 

From the Image Gallery


Devil's shoestring
Nolina lindheimeriana

Devil's shoestring
Nolina lindheimeriana

Devil's shoestring
Nolina lindheimeriana

More General Botany Questions

Identification of strange tiny creature in plant water
January 14, 2010 - I have a house plant rooted in water. I has been for over a year and the plant seems healthy, I change the water often and keep it clean. I now have noticed that something is growing it. A fish type o...
view the full question and answer

Flower color in shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia)
February 25, 2010 - Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon meadia) come in the colors white, lavender and purple in the eastern U.S. Is this just genetic variability or does soil chemistry affect the flower color?
view the full question and answer

Trillium phototropism
May 16, 2010 - I'm SURE you haven't had this question before. I live in northern Michigan in a wooded subdivision where we have clouds of wild grandiflorum trilliums growing in the woods on either side of the roa...
view the full question and answer

White and red Turk's cap and possible crossing
September 18, 2013 - I have had some white Turk's cap for several years. This year, some red Turk's cap has appeared among it. I have the red in another location. Will the red become dominant if I leave it among the whi...
view the full question and answer

Is Poison ivy always rooted in the ground?
November 11, 2015 - Does Poison ivy on a tree always start at the ground and climb up the tree or can it start producing its vine and leaves by itself at the top of the tree or middle?
view the full question and answer

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

Bibliography

Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston

Search More Titles in Bibliography

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center