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Geez...we females are even underrepresented as a demographic in urban horticulture...at least when it comes to sexual diversity in planting trees.

An Atlas Obscura article (link below), orginally published in 2019 and titled "Botanical Sexism," * discusses the efforts of Tom Ogren, a horticulturist, to publicize the fact that, in the United States, almost all sexually dimorphic trees planted in urban settings are male, which has caused an overabundance of pollen....and, an overabundance of problems for humans subject to pollen allergies.

Ogren calls this phenomona "Botanical Sexism," although other horticuluralists disagree with the label, claiming that it trivializes the problems women face. Frankly, I like the label: it draws attention to the possibility of everyday male sexism, a sexism that relentlessly (and, sometimes, unconsciously) seems to create a heirarchy in which males always come out on top, or even create a female-free world in which males alone exist...in complete self-sufficiency.

Didn't know whether to post this in the Gardening Circle...or the Women's Heath Lounge Circle...or, of course, in Gender Critical (but, I get tired of posting in gender critical...I'm always posting there, and sometimes need a break).

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/seasonal-allergies-blame-male-trees?utm_source=Atlas+Obscura+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=96f4cab8ea-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_04_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f36db9c480-96f4cab8ea-72883617&mc_cid=96f4cab8ea&mc_eid=4543485c14

*Atlas Obscura seems to be displaying a little "Terfiness" here...asserting an understanding that the sexual binary is real (at least among some, but not all trees), and that this understanding might be important to human health.

Geez...we females are even underrepresented as a demographic in urban horticulture...at least when it comes to sexual diversity in planting trees. An Atlas Obscura article (link below), orginally published in 2019 and titled "Botanical Sexism," * discusses the efforts of Tom Ogren, a horticulturist, to publicize the fact that, in the United States, almost all sexually dimorphic trees planted in urban settings are male, which has caused an overabundance of pollen....and, an overabundance of problems for humans subject to pollen allergies. Ogren calls this phenomona "Botanical Sexism," although other horticuluralists disagree with the label, claiming that it trivializes the problems women face. Frankly, I like the label: it draws attention to the possibility of everyday male sexism, a sexism that relentlessly (and, sometimes, unconsciously) seems to create a heirarchy in which males always come out on top, or even create a female-free world in which males alone exist...in complete self-sufficiency. Didn't know whether to post this in the Gardening Circle...or the Women's Heath Lounge Circle...or, of course, in Gender Critical (but, I get tired of posting in gender critical...I'm always posting there, and sometimes need a break). https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/seasonal-allergies-blame-male-trees?utm_source=Atlas+Obscura+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=96f4cab8ea-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_04_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f36db9c480-96f4cab8ea-72883617&mc_cid=96f4cab8ea&mc_eid=4543485c14 *Atlas Obscura seems to be displaying a little "Terfiness" here...asserting an understanding that the sexual binary is real (at least among some, but not all trees), and that this understanding might be important to human health.

11 comments

[–] [Deleted] 5 points (+5|-0)

I would think this largely depends on what you are growing the trees/flowers for. I have been searching for a male possumhaw for going on a year. Only female possumhaws are sold because they produce the beautiful red berries in fall/winter—as king as they have a male to fertilize them.

Everyone buys the females increasing their demand and no one buys the males because they don’t produce berries and are essentially used as a stud in the plant world.

I do think ascribing this to sexism is a little... obnoxious. If we ONLY had female producing trees you could also make the argument that people are commoditizing the female tree for its fruits. The point being that applying human oppression to plants just doesn’t make sense.

This IS a good argument about how humans utilizing nature to control aesthetics often goes awry. I hope we will move towards more ecologically friendly gardening in city scape which means moving away from something just because it appeals to us and moving towards sustainable native plants that are both male and female.

[–] SarahTheGreen 2 points (+2|-0)

The trees where I am don't normally have fruit and I have no idea what sex the deciduous trees are. The spruce are hermaphrodites monoecious, with female cones at the top and male cones at the bottom.

With the rise of permaculture, female fruit-bearing trees may come into fashion. I mean, why grow anything that isn't edible when you can grow something edible?

Also, I was wondering how you know the sex of a sapling, but if they're mostly clones, that would explain it. Could we not clone trees? Could we just go with native species? Maybe transplant saplings from the wild or from farms weeding out saplings to encourage genetic diversity?

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+2|-1)

I think the term botanical sexism is extremely silly. Most people don't even know what sex trees are and most trees have both male and female parts.

[–] Mikkal 2 points (+2|-0) Edited

My parents bought a "male" tree specifically to have one that wouldn't littler their lawn with seed pods, they got a female one in error. It's totally a selling point/thing people really do.

Look at images of "sweet gum pods" to see why they don't want those in their yard... they hurt if you step on them. (I just checked - and it turns out the tree has both male/female flowers on it - but they were sold a "male" tree that "wouldn't litter seed pods" - pre-internet days to look those things up.)

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+1|-0)

Well, yeah, some people definitely know about this but most people don't. I think it's similar to how people want hens instead of roosters because a hen will give them eggs. I don't think it's sexism

[–] Avadavat [OP] 6 points (+6|-0)

You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion. But your opinion does not address the point that Ogren makes...that most trees planted in urban settings are male...

[–] [Deleted] -1 points (+0|-1) Edited

How many of the trees planted are even single sex?

BTW, the sex binary is obviously real in trees, just because trees have both male and female parts doesn't mean they don't have only two sexes

[–] LepistaNuda 4 points (+4|-0)

The only tree I can think of that is sexed and only the males planted in public is the ginko. Reason why: Female ginkos drop foul smelling fruit in the late summer and fall, some species were described to me as smelling similar to dog poop. Perhaps not planting ginkos and using normally androgynous trees might be a thought? Ginkos are used a lot in cities because they put up with pollution and small spaces though, I'm not really sure what the options are.

[–] Avadavat [OP] 11 points (+11|-0)

The author of the article makes the case that if the tables were turned...if ONLY female trees were planted, NEITHER foul smelling fruit nor allergy-producing pollen would be a problem...as there would be no male trees to fertilize the female trees.

[–] LepistaNuda 4 points (+4|-0)

I just scanned the article and missed that...it makes some sense, although they would have to make sure they got rid of every male in a certain wide area which might a bit difficult but could be done.