Contact Us Host an Event 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
2 ratings

Tuesday - July 08, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Lack of fruit on Texas persimmon
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have several Texas Persimmons on my property, most have nodules covering most of the leaves that I am presuming to be insect eggs. Between my neighbor and I we have over a dozen of these tress growing wild, but only one has fruit, which is the one without the insect infestation. Am I to presume that only one of the trees are female or is the lack of fruit due to the insect infestation?

ANSWER:

This is a very interesting question—so interesting that it sent this Mr. Smarty Plants on a research expedition to look at Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) trees/shrubs growing in Lampasas County, Texas. Of the 20 or so trees I found, less than half had fruit on them. Of those trees with fruit, some seemed to be completely free of insect galls, others had a few leaves showing galls, and others had a moderate number of galls on some of their branches. I didn't encounter any with a very heavy infestation of galls. On the shrubs without fruit, I found about the same distribution of galls. This certainly wasn't a rigorous scientific survey and we couldn't apply any meaningful statistics to it, but I think probably the insect infestation isn't responsible for your plants not producing fruit. The article about insect galls above from the University of Florida Extension Service, plus ones from Iowa State University Extension Service and Brandeis University, all indicate that galls generally don't cause any serious problems for plants except, perhaps, aesthetically. See the photos below showing trees with insect galls and fruit. Perhaps your trees are more heavily infested than the ones in the photographs, but still I don't think that this would keep them from bearing fruit. I think that most likely all the other trees are male trees or, for some unknown reason, the other female trees didn't set fruit. It will be interesting to see if any of the trees without fruit this year will bear fruit next year.

 


Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

 




 

 

More Trees Questions

Problems with a Cercis (Redbud)
August 25, 2014 - Half of my redbud tree is pooped out looking. On two places on the bark are areas where a few layers of bark have pulled back. In these areas there are white growths.
view the full question and answer

Are white pine trees toxic to horses?
May 31, 2009 - Are white pine trees toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

Oak bark problems from Stillwater OK
May 14, 2012 - In my clients large oak tree there is bark stripped from the limbs in small pieces. No piece is larger than 1 inch by 1 inch and occurs on limbs high in the canopy. It does not look like squirrel doin...
view the full question and answer

Trees for creek side in Illinois
July 04, 2008 - I have a creek that runs along my back yard, and was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on water loving trees to grow next to it. The creek gets sun all day and is located in zone 5. (so...
view the full question and answer

Spring blooming Acacia farnsiana in Austin
April 04, 2007 - I've been seeing a large shrub, possibly tree, around Austin this spring - and it is covered is small ball-like orangish-yellow blooms - very tightly covered in these blooms. From the car, it looks ...
view the full question and answer

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