Dioecious plants have only male or female flowers on an individual tree or shrub, or “two houses.” Think of them like college dorms (dioecious and dorm both start with “d” so it’s easy to remember). Ladies in one building and guys in another, before co-ed dorms existed. Hollies are a great example of this. Last month (June) I was sitting at my desk, typing an email, when our Senior Horticulturist, Mike Yanny, excitedly came into my office and said, “I figured out why we never get fruits on the group of Winterberries out front. Wanna see something cool?” Turns out when we planted a stand of native Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) years ago no one knew if they were male or female. In a group of 5 plants, you’d think at least one of them would have been female. Whether or not they have fruits isn’t even a sure way to tell because the plant may not have reached puberty yet. The surest way to tell if they are male or female is when they are in flower, for a brief duration in spring. Sure enough, Mike and I were standing in a sea of boy flowers, not a girl in sight. Then he took me out to our container production area and we could see our stock of #3 containers in full bloom. There were the boys with their stamens swollen with yellow pollen and the girls with their plump, green pistils. Mike lent a helping hand and plucked a boy flower from a shrub and brushed it against a girl flower. Laughing, I covered my eyes and shook my head. All that was missing was a little Barry White music in the background.