Finding information on the genders of other plant species is more challenging. Many maples are dioecious, but it is rare to find its gender in the plant description. Most folks don't care much about the flowers on a maple, they are too far away to see and the foliage is the main feature anyway. However gender is an issue for many allergy suffers. Male trees produce loads of pollen and if it's wind borne, that's a lot of pollen in the air.
|This Sassafras was blooming at the beginning of April. |
Males have showier flowers because of all of the stamen.
The female flowers are more subdued.
One approach to getting mates when buying young plants is just to buy a lot of them and then play the odds. I often buy 3 at a time, but 5 gives you a better shot. This is only certain for seed-grown plants. Plants propagated from cuttings will have the gender of the 'parent' plant. Then you need to hope that the propagator started from a mix of plants and not a single cultivar.
|This fringe tree is probably 4 years old and |
has a few blooms on it.
Another approach is to be at the nursery and find plants in bloom. I got lucky this year when I found small fringe trees in bloom at my favorite nursery. I went home and saw that both of mine were also in bloom and they were both females. I headed back to the nursery and looked though their plants until I found a male and bought it. Now I'm all set for next year.
|The male flowers have two paddle-shaped anthers that protrude from the flower center.|
Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica, is another tree that is dioecious. I put in two of them in a couple of years ago. Then I realized it was a big gamble that I would have one of each, so a added a third this year. These mature into fairly large trees, so I don't want to fill up the yard with a bunch of them.
|Here's the female persimmon in bloom. I haven's seen what the male looks like, yet.|
The native pussy willow (Salix discolor) also comes as separate male and female plants. The male is showier with its large fuzzy stamen. These plants do bloom when they are small, so you might have luck determining which to buy at the nursery. These bloom in mid-April around here and, unfortunately, many nurseries aren't open for business then. The one I purchased two years ago was male. Willows are very easy to propagate by cuttings. So I was able to quickly grow several new plants, but these will all be male. I did pick up another this spring, but it was not in bloom. The vendor said it was seed grown so I'm working blind.
|The male flower of this pussy willow is adorned with bright yellow stamen. |
The flowers on female plants are green and somewhat scaly in appearance.
|The stamen on these male goatsbeard flowers really catch the light.|