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

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

Texas native plants that absorb air-borne pollutants
December 15, 2008 - hello mr. and mrs. smarty, I'm looking for native Texas plants that absorb pollutants and trap air-borne particulates. I found a list (below), but don't think they're native. Could you give me ad...
view the full question and answer

Use of the word annual
May 27, 2015 - Why is the word 'annual' used to describe plants with one grow season, when in all other cases it's used to describe things that reoccur year after year? i.e. Events, celebration, salary?
view the full question and answer

Phytoremediation Plant List for St. Louis MO
April 19, 2012 - My goal is to transform urban blight plots (some up to 1/4 acre) into viable community gardens having healthy, living soil as their foundation. To this end I am researching phytoremediation (thanks...
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
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.

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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center