If pollen is taken from a "sterile" tree or plant and introduced to a fertile plant does it effect that plant in the future

ie...Bradford pear, non-fruit bearing, to a fruit bearing tree

Thanks Tim

2 Answers 2


If you're seeing pollen in the flowers of whatever plant it is, then the plant is not sterile; sterile flowers don't produce any, which is why they're good to plant around serious hay fever sufferers.


Regarding sterility and what that means in plants, please see this previous question and @GrahamChiu response. Also this response on the subject from Michigan State Extension.

For a long time after the Bradford pear appeared there was no pollen that could fertilize its flowers so the tree itself was "sterile" even though the pollen it produced was not. That is no longer the case since varieties have appeared that can fertilize among themselves.

This question on allergies confirms the Bradford pear does produce pollen; but since it is different in subtle ways from normal pear pollen it will only be effective as active pollen if the receiving plant is compatible. According to the University of Maine the pollen from Bradford is effective on European pears. So the effect on the receiving plant will either be nothing at all, no fertilization, or the key fits the lock and what happens after that is chemistry.

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