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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - May 11, 2013

From: Montezuma, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Trees
Title: How do you determine male persimmon seedlings from the females?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have got new persimmon seedlings about 3 inches tall this spring, and am wondering if there is any way to tell male from female at this young stage? I just don't want to plant 20 or 40 seedlings and find out later that they may be all male. Thank you sincerely for any info you may have.

ANSWER:

There are two species of Persimmons that occur in Texas; Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon), and Diospyros virginiana (Common persimmon), but only D. virginiana occurs in Indiana. It is a deciduous tree with brilliant fall foliage, and is commonly used in landscapes. As you know, the species is dioecious, meaning that pistillate flowers (female) and staminate flowers (male) are on separate plants. The problem is that you can’t tell which plant is which until flowers appear, and this can take from 5 to 8 years.  The probability of all of your seed producing male plants is pretty low, but even if they do, there is still hope. This previous answer explains some of the vagaries of persimmon reproduction that can result in fruit on male trees.

This link has lots of information about Diospyros virginiana.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

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