What Is the Difference Between Monoecious and Dioecious?

Monoecious plants have both male and female flowers on the same specimen, while dioecious plants produce male and female flowers on different specimens. This means that while a monoecious plant may pollinate itself, dioecious plants require a partner to achieve pollination. Most common landscaping plants are monoecious and require no partner for fertilizing their ova.

One of the benefits dioecious plants have over monoecious plants is that they display greater genetic diversity. While a monoecious plant may pollinate itself and produce ova that are clones of itself, dioecious plants must have a partner to achieve fertilization, ensuring that the fertilized ova share only half of their genes with either of their parents.

Examples of monoecious plants include fir trees, alder trees, birch trees, pine trees, spruce trees, beech trees, walnut trees and cypress trees. Examples of dioecious plants include mulberry plants, holly plants, juniper trees, maple trees, ash trees, persimmons trees, willow trees, mountain holly trees and the kiwi fruit vine.

The different terms can be understood by examining their prefixes. The latin prefix “di-” means “two,” while the latin prefix “mono-” means “one” or “same.” Other examples are monocots and dicots, which have one or two seed leaves, respectively.