The botanical terms Monoecious and Dioecious are two distinct categories of plant based on their reproductive capabilities.
In this article, we will make the distinction between Monoecious And Dioecious trees and plants, and provide an A-Z reference identifying which trees sit within each group.
What are Monoecious And Dioecious Trees and Plants
Dioecious plants are self-sterile, meaning they require a male and female cultivar to successfully pollinate and produce flowers and thereafter seeds.
The male plants produce staminate flowers with male reproductive capacity, whilst females display pistillate flowers.
The majority of plants and trees are in fact Monoecious (translated as single house), meaning that they are able to complete the entire reproductive process from within a single plant and do not require any form of pollination from another plant.
They carry both male and female flowers for self pollination. A critical consideration in horticulture and crop production
Winter squash are a great example of this duel function, where we can see thin stemmed male flowers as offshoots from the main vine stem, whilst the female flowers have a thicker rounded flower stems. Once pollinated this thick stem swells and develops into fruit.
Monoecious plants have separate male and female flowers on the same plant
Polygamo-dioecious plants have either female and bisexual flowers or male and bisexual flowers on the same plant.
A-Z List Of Monoecious And Dioecious Trees
A-Z Dioecious Trees
An elegant medium-sized tree with heart-shaped leaves approximately 5″ in length, turning from bronze to pink through the season. Native to Japan and China.
Native to South Eastern USA the Fringe Tree grows with several trunks up to a height of 6m. A member of the olive family it produces masses of beautifully perfumed flowers.
Image: David Bender USFWS
Small to medium-sized trees often turning deep purple later in the season. Growing up to 8m tall they are generally considered a trouble-free, pest-free tree. Producing a frothy mass of flowers.
Also known as Japanese Dogwood, considered an ornamental flowering tree. Grows up to 12m tall and grows in a neat round habit.
An evergreen bush or small tree with a strong spice aroma, native to Asia and North America. The dried fruits are used as an aromatic cooking spice.
Image: Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
A small tree or large bush this plant can grow up to 15m in height. A member of the Mulberry family, the fruit excretes a latex substance when cut. Its roots are thick and fleshy and have a bright orange bark.
Image: H. Zell GNU
Amur Cork Tree
The Amur Cork Tree is native to Asia and has been used in Chinese medicine to treat pneumonia, tumors, jaundice, and tuberculosis. The tree has both antibiotic and antimicrobial properties due to these alkaloids contained within the plant material.
The major chemical constituents of its bark are the isoquinoline alkaloids, berberine, palmatine, jatrorrhizine, phellodendorine with berberine found within the leaves. The indole alkaloid canthin-6-one has also been found in the roots of young trees.
The trees range from 8-12m tall and display leaves in opposite formation and change in color from green to yellow bronze in fall.
Image: Kurt Stüber CC by 3.0
Renown for their attractive white or grey bark the Poplar tree has a large genetic diversity. Growing up to 50m in height they are primarily dioecious a few species are monoecious. Catkins appear in early spring and range in color.
Prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere the Willow is a cross-compatible species with some variants growing up to 12m tall. Generally recognized for their overhanging relaxed flowing branches. Leaves are thin and elongated and the trees produce catkins early spring.
Image: Didier Descouens CC by 4.0
Buffalo Berry is a genus of small shrubs that produce a luscious mass of dark red berries. They have (non-legume) nitrogen-fixing roots. The berries are commonly used to make jams and preserves.
Image: Provincial Archives of Alberta
A fruit-producing evergreen species, primarily grown as an ornamental tree. This incredible tree can live up to 600 years and grow up to 30m tall. The main trunk can grow up to 4m in diameter.
A genus of over 200 species in temperate through to sub-tropical regions. Alternately arranged leaves these woody climbers produce a fruit containing a single seed.
Image: Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
A-Z Monoecious Trees
35 species of trees and shrubs, the Alder found widely spread through Northern temperate regions. The male Catkin flowers are long whilst the female is shorter. Due to its abundance, these species deliver large volumes of nitrogen to enrich forest soils.
Small to medium-sized shrubs and trees distributed across the Northern hemisphere. Displaying attractive papery bark in white, grey, yellow black, or silver that gives the species their names. Catkins are produced early spring and flowers open before or with leaf buds.
Image: Shizhao CC by 3.0
A hardwood tree, there are around 40 species of hornbeam found across the Northern hemisphere. The largest species can reach 32m in height. Catkins are wind-pollinated and the seeds are wing-shaped and spin when they fall to the ground.
Image: KENPEI CC by GNU
In Europe and America, the Chestnut species are fast-growing, whereas in China they are slow to medium vigor. The largest species in Europe grow 30m tall. The edible chestnut fruits are encased in a spiny shell and commonly used in cooking.
Image: Apple2000 GNU
A coniferous tree native to the Himalayas and Mediterranean regions at altitudes of 1000m or more. Growing up to 40m in height and displaying needle-like leaves up to 60mm in length. They produce barrel-shaped seed cones between 2-5 inches long.
Image: David J. Stang CC by 4.0
A native to Japan the False Cypress is a genus of conifer and ranges from 20-70m in height. This ornamental is often used in topiary borders.
The wood grain of the False Cypress is very straight and lends itself to use for making arrow shafts, boat hulls, decking or flooring, guitar fretboards, and various interior millwork applications. It also exhibits a high resistance to rot.
Image: Derek Ramsey GNU
Native to the Northern Hemisphere and most commonly known for its edible fruit the hazelnut. The tree puts out catkins of 3-5 inches long very early in spring ahead of leaf buds. They can live for up to 8o years and grow to a height of approximately 12m.
Image: Rosser CC by 4.0
An evergreen conifer can grow as a shrub or tree of up to 40m tall. Exhibiting short scale-like leaves grouped in fours. The flower appears like tiny buds at the twig tips. Pea size cones will ripen from female flowers.
Image: MPF CC by 3.0
Highly regarded for its timber and nuts, the walnut tree ranges from 10-40m in height and exhibits a short trunk and broad crown. Paired oval leaves and catkins of between 2-5 inches in length.
Image: George Chernilevsky
Growing up to 60m in height this conifer is broadly distributed across the Northern Hemisphere. One of the rare deciduous conifers they drop their needle-like leaves in Fall/Autumn. The male cone is orange in color whilst female cones are green or purple, turning brown when mature and dry.
Image: Chris Light CC by 4.0
Picea consists of around 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees ranging from 20-60m tall. Attractive green needle-like leaves with variable sized cones and scaling amongst the Spruce species. From tall upright habit to low weeping varieties, a popular and colorful ornamental tree.
Image: JJ Harrison CC by 3.0
Coniferous, resinous, evergreen trees the Pine genus contains over 120 species. It is possible for Pine trees to live up to 1,000 years and grow up to 80m tall. Broadly distributed across the Northern Hemisphere the pine has both ornamental and industrial use qualities. Primarily a monoecious species with female and male cones on a single tree, although there are also some single-sex varieties.
Image: Walter Siegmund GNU
The Golden Larch is not actually a true larch, it is more closely related to Cedrus and Abies. Native to Eastern China this coniferous tree will grow in excess of 35m in mountain regions. The needle-like leaves are 1-3 inches in length and turn golden prior to falling from the tree at the end of the season.
Image: By William (Ned) Friedman
The Umbrella Pine is not a genuine Pine Tree. It is in fact the only species in the genus and more commonly refer to as the Japanese Umbrella-Pine. The tree has no immediate relatives but can be traced back to fossil records over 200 million years old.
It is an evergreen tree that grows up to 25m in height and produces cones that are 2-4 inches in length and take 18 months to mature.
Image: Rae CC by 2.0
Part of the Cypress family this giant tree reaches heights of 120m and its red bark can be extremely thick, up to 30 cm. The cones mature at 8 months and release the seeds when dry and open.
Image: KENPEI CC by 3.0
This spectacular species is known to grow to an age of up to 3,000 years old, and up to 85m in height. The seed cones are relatively small only 4-7cm long. They take up to 2 years to mature and release their seeds.
Image: Theodor Benda CC by 3.0
Monoecious And Dioecious Trees
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