Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Is it bamboo? Is it a cycad?

It's the latter - another Ceratozamia, rather different from the first. This is Ceratozamia hildae, sometimes known as the bamboo cycad:

ceratozamia hildae

It's hard to do this species justice with a picture but basically it holds each leaf vertically and the leaflets are arrayed all round the stem for a kind of bamboo effect. It then pushes awesome looking cones up from the caudex (subterranean stem). Often times it will be branch underground and produce multiple heads of leaves and cones will pop up throughout. Could this be the new Sago? As with C. mexicana I expect this species to get more common in cultivation , its already not rare among enthusiasts - especially in the warmer parts of the US - it will reach coning size in relatively sensible sized pots which is nice and seed is now being produced in decentish numbers so more than a few nurseries are likely to offer good numbers of the plant over the next few years.

Speaking of which if you're wondering how one produces seed of a rare cycad (or in this case a relatively common one) Jody Haynes has an article here on hand-pollinating C. hildae which is pretty interesting.

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