October 01, 2014

Incubating Fossils

My big Cycad has this huge nest in the center.

There should be dozens of seeds inside this thing, fertilized 
by other cycads miles away by pollen on the wind or by insects.


Last time it had seeds, I planted a few just to see if they were indeed fertile. One of them miraculously sprouted. I had a seedling that lasted until I put it outside for the summer. Squirrels got hold of it.

Soaking and cleaning seeds. 
All the orange part must be removed.

First Sprout. It takes a while. The seed at top
never sprouted. I was tickled to see ONE.


Eventually it had four little fronds and was potted up in a clay pot before the squirrel got hold of it and broke it off at the root.

Now is my opportunity to start over with fresh seeds. It is not a small undertaking.


Meantime, some years back I dug pups from around the huge cycad of my neighbor, Mrs. Cotele. One I broke the root after it sprouted in my eagerness to make certain they were rooting. They were.

Cycad with the cone in the distance.
Near view is pup I rooted in 2011.

One has gained some size and is being overtaken by Hydrageas. I will likely leave the whole mess until spring and cut the hydrangeas back when they show new growth.



Two pups that were smaller and slower growing I put at the outside corners of the oval lawn this past spring. Tuesday I noticed that one has new leaves, not a usual thing for fall but not unheard of.

This one recovered from a tractor tire running over it when we were doing some work; I caged it to keep it safe. There's a small Brugmansia behind it that did not gain size nor bloom this year. Maybe next year they can duke it out for space.

A final look at the female cone with a tiny green anole visiting. He didn't linger for more pics. Seeds will be ripe sometime in the Spring.

I am fascinated by Cycads but I might not make Cycad bread from the seeds nor dance on the oval lawn between the plants nor set them on fire.

Yolngu people produce texts about cycads in several forms: dance sequences, songs and graphic representations. Westerners produce scientific texts.

2 comments:

Alison said...

Cycads are so interesting to me, so prehistoric. I've managed to keep mine alive this summer, hopefully it will stay alive over the winter too, and produce new fronds. The fuzzy, convoluted center is so fascinating to look at. I hope you get more sprouts!

outlawgardener said...

Cycads are gorgeous! I may try again now that I'll have a place to protect one during the winter! Your seed experiment sounds like fun! No cycad seed bread? No dancing? I was just getting ready for the party.

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