Thursday, April 16, 2009


If the main stem of a cycad is damaged it will often respond by pupping - sometimes rather aggressively.


As shown above this plant (which is one of the island's probably Cycas rumphiis) has taken rather a clobbering and the result is the clustering below. The little brown nut looking things are the miniature caudices of new pups forming - as you can probably see there are a number of dead looking big pups with little pups attached thereto. What I think is happening is a helpful but uncycad-trained local gardener is probably knocking the leaves off the pups to keep the base neat. What would be a better option would be to take the whole pup off and root it as a new plant but that would require time and space and perhaps isn't an option.


As you can see this plant really, really wants to produce a lot of pups. This is a self defense mechanism. If the main stem collapses perhaps one (or many) of the pups will continue the plant's life. They can go on in this way for a long long time.


Perhaps one day someone will knock off a load of these and then plant them somewhere else to create a grove that will fulfill this plant's biological imperative - until then it'll keep trying.

1 comment:

Keetha said...

I found your blog today by googling Cycads. I LOVE all your info!!!

Find and post about some gnetophytes next!!!