Sex Identification in Dioecious Woody Landscape Plants
Denise E. Costich and Thomas R. Meagher
Dioecious plant species, in which individual plants are either male or female, are commonly used in horticulture. In the majority of these species, the earliest possible identification of sex occurs at the time of flowering, a stage that may not be reached for a number of growing seasons in woody trees and shrubs. Often, one sex is preferred over the other, for example, female hollies are favored because of their attractive fruits, whereas female ginkgos are essentially worthless for landscaping purposes because of their fruits. In those species in which fruit production is favored, it is advantageous to know the sex of individual plants in order to ensure that both sexes are represented in a newly established planting. Thus, it would be of considerable commercial interest to growers to be able to determine the sex of dioecious plants in the seedling stage, potentially reducing the amount of acreage and labor necessary to grow the plants to flowering.
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