Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
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

Clover in grass in Marysville WA
March 05, 2009 - I noticed clover growing in my grass and know that this is a sign of poor nitrogen in my soil. I would like to know of some native plants / shrubs that I could put near my house in Washington that ...
view the full question and answer

Plants adding calcium to soil
June 08, 2006 - Hi, I am looking for a resource to help determine the functions of native plants. For instance, nitrogen fixing can be found in Indigo, Lead plant, lupines. Are there other plants that add back cal...
view the full question and answer

Disappearing sunlight in Phoenix, AZ
September 29, 2009 - I live in a condo in Phoenix, AZ with a north facing patio that goes out about 10 feet and is 20 feet wide. During the summer months there is a span of 1 foot in the front that goes the 20 foot length...
view the full question and answer

Is Esperanza a deciduous or an evergreen plant?
March 08, 2009 - I've read that Esperanza/Tecoma Stans is an evergreen. I planted one last year that seemed very healthy, but it dropped its leaves in late fall and looks (at least) dormant now. Will it come back o...
view the full question and answer

Information about glucose concentration in plants for Science Fair project
October 24, 2007 - I am a high school student enrolling in science fair. MY topic is as follows, "Can a plant be removed from the sun and put in dark and still survive if I directly inject glucose into the stem/roots (...
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