How do you know what a male tree looks like from the female? Is it because of the leaves that fall or the ones that have more pollen?

Please help me to understand if there is such a thing.

  • Welcome to the site! You might want to have a look at this related question gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/13609/…, to see if it helps you in addition to the answers you have here. Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 14:40
  • I am not an expert or even close to an expert nor do I know how to tell the difference in most plants but I once grew cucumbers where there were not any bees in the area to pollinate. I looked it up and learned how to pollinate by hand.( it was very interesting). Cucumber are on plant that it is easy to tell the difference in male and female flowers. The females have a little tiny cucumber ( it is very small and almost invisible, you have to really look at them to see it), and the male flowers do not have the little cucumber. So ai would pick the male and rub it into the female flower and was
    – Aly
    Commented May 27 at 23:06

3 Answers 3


It's down to the particular variety of tree or plant how to tell, but bear in mind that not all trees are either male or female (dioecious), many are monoecious, meaning they have male and female parts on the same plant. Of those that are dioecious, information at the point of sale can be helpful, because often it's very difficult or impossible to tell whether a plant is male or female unless there are flowers or berries present.

Holly is probably an obvious example - these plants are dioecious, so there are male and female plants. Usually, you know when a plant is female because it produces berries, and the male doesn't. The only other ways to know are by its varietal name and looking it up to see if it's male or female, or by examining a flower - the stamens are longer in male flowers than they are in female ones. Very unhelpfully, for hollies, you can't guess from looking at the varietal name alone - Ilex Silver Queen, for instance, despite its feminine name, is actually a male plant, so you still need to know the varietal name and then look them up. In the case of Holly, if you want berries, it's necessary to have both a male and female plant for the female to produce fruits.

Gingko biloba is also dioecious - the female produces fruits, but the male doesn't. However, many people prefer to have a male plant, because the fruits on the female have an unpleasant smell, which obviously isn't a problem with male plants.

Whether a plant is male or female is usually only important if you particularly want fruit of some sort, whether that be ornamental berries or edible fruits. Some fruiting plants are dioecious, others aren't, so that's something which should be established in order to have fruits of a particular type.


In addition to Bamboo nice answer, I reply to one of your doubt:

Pollen is produced by male organ, so if it has pollen you know that the plant is male, or it has also male flowers, or some flowers have both sexes, or all of this. The Examination of only one flower cannot be definitive, but in the case of a well know strictly dioceous plant.

If the plant has fruits, you can say that the plant is (also) female.

Usually the differentiation is only on flowers and fruits, the rest it is usually identical.


This is a bit of a less scientific explanation, but is accurate enough.

To tell the sex of an animal, the easiest way is often to inspect the genitals. You can do the same with a plant. The flowers are the plants genitals. Some plants have both the male and female parts, whereas others have only male parts or female parts. Pollen is the equivalent of plant sperm, think about that next spring when the air is full of it. Once the plants have been fertilised, they will have the equivalent of a plant pregnancy (growing fruit), where the seeds are like little plant eggs ready to create another plant, and they are often wrapped in a fruit to convince animals to eat them. The seeds are protected against being digested, and so they will be carried some distance by the animal and be deposited somewhere along with a nice helping of fresh fertiliser (animal poop) to prepare the little baby plant to start growing.

So the next time you see a girl recieving flowers, think about how they have just received a gift of plant genitals, and if you bite down into a piece of fruit youve just started eating plant placenta. Yum!

  • Flowers that have polen (similar to sperm) are male; And fruits, which hold seeds (similar to little eggs) are female. I like your metaphor, it's easy to remember! (🌼 → ♂, 🍎 → ♀)
    – g4v3
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 10:59

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