Muscadine Flowers

The muscadine vines are now flowering.  Some muscadines vines are dioecious, meaning they have only male or female flowers.  However, many of the common cultivars have perfect flowers (both male and female parts — also termed hermaphroditic).  In the first photo below, we see that the flower cluster is in various morphological stages.

Muscadine inflorescence beginning anthesis

Muscadine inflorescence beginning anthesis

The next photo shows an inflorescence that is in the last stages of anthesis.  In fact, some of the flowers have been fertilized and the beginnings of berries can be seen.  The pistil (female flower part) and stamens (male flower part) can both been seen clearly as well.

Muscadine inflorescence beginning to set berries

Muscadine inflorescence in full bloom

Unlike Euvitis bunch grapes, both wind and insects play a role in the pollination process.  The resulting fruit will be a loose cluster in which the berries abscise and fall to the ground when ripe.  I will continue to follow the fruit morphology throughout the season and post it here.

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4 responses

  1. I am still confused on muscadine flowers. I think my vine has only male flowers currently opening (stamens only). I read another article from Mississippi State University that said that muscadine vines either have female flowers only or self fertile flowers containing both male and female parts. Is this accurate? If so then my vine should not have male only flowers. Confused. Any thoughts?

    • David:
      According to the definitive book on muscadines (Muscadine Grapes, F.M. Basiouny and D.G. Himelrick, eds.), on pages 40-41 the authors (Groffinet, Welser, and Himelrick) state that “Individual flowers in wild muscadines are often unisexual, that is, the entire vine produces only male flowers or only female flowers (the dioecious condition). Many cultivars are female, so that male vines must be planted among them for proper pollination and fruit set. Other cultivars are perfect-flowered (hermaphroditic), such that both pollen-bearing male structures (stamens) and female structures (the pistil) are present in each flower.”

      It sounds to me like you could have a vine with only male flowers.

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