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Friday, April 2, 2010

How Do I Tell the Sex of a Seaberry / Seabuckthorn Plant?

This is a question which has come up in a number of forums and this blog as well.  A big thanks to larry_gene on the Garden Web for providing some great information and photos.  The photos are the best on the internet.  Something else larry_gene said. It is important not to rely on one male plant to be your polinator.  If that male does not thrive, there is no back up.  This is great advice.  So good in fact, I just confirmed with Burnt Ridge Nursery an increase in my order of male plants - to a total of 2. 
The seedlings, as I have mentioned, might be a few years before a determination can be made.  Larry_gene has said it took 2-3 years from a purchased 1-gallon plant and he is interested as well to see how long sexual maturation from seedlings will be evident.  We shall see.

Female Seaberry Identification Photo^

Male Seaberry Identification Photo^
As the seaberry plants are either male or female, they are not self-fertile.  I have not been able to find any information on insect polinators.  Everything I have read states the plants are wind polinated.  Somehow, as time goes on, and if the plantings in Maine are successful, I'll bet there may be a bug or two up there which may lend a helping hand.


  1. are you sure you have male and female pics correctly? I think they may be swapped. Could you double-check?

  2. I am sure they are as described. To elaborate a bit. The top photo is of the female plant, the female blooms are yellow. Notice well-developed foliage, especially at branch tips.

    The bottom photo is of the male plant, the pollen is long gone and foliage is still very small.

    Thanks for the question.

  3. The first commenter is properly skeptical, as the top photo would seem to have male characteristics and the bottom photo female aspects.

    The tiny green berries behind the yellow worm-like blooms are not obvious in the top image.

    The pollen is contained in what I call tiny "coin purses" that are open in the bottom image.

    (I took the photos!) larry_gene

  4. Is my labeling confusing or do I have the photo's swapped. I think the female is the top photo and the male the bottom. If it is right then I will update the labels -- Thanks

  5. sorry for confusing everyone with my original question, I really thought the female would be the "purse" type, I was wrong!

    Which actually told me that I have one MALE seaberry blooming this year in my yard. I am excited! I grew them from seed. They are 4 years old, and the male one was really full of "purse" flowers. Hopefully the other plants will have flowers next year. They all are about 4 feet tall.

  6. is the only way to plant this tree from seed??

  7. Divejulea, Once you have plants either from seed or purchased cuttings or runners, you could propagate them by rooting the cuttings or transplanting the separated runners.