Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hidden hildae

If these strange vertically held fronds look familiar its because this lovely plant has featured here before. This is the bamboo cycad Ceratozamia hildae (I actually think it looks more like Solomon's seal or a lily stem than bamboo but what do I know?).

ceratozamia hildae2

This one, at St. George's Botanic Garden in St. Croix was growing strongly and doing battle with a number of invasive creepers and palm seedlings. On account of its awesomeness it was winning this battle heavily and the fronds were in beautiful condition but it was winning kind of ugly. Nowithstanding a little weeding by yours truly I still couldn't get a truly aesthetic shot.

ceratozamia hildae

Those are papaya seedlings in the front right by the way. If it weren't on Cites appendix I I'm fairly sure this cycad would be planted out throughout the tropics enduring the same success as Cycas revolute or Zamia furfuracea. Its tough and hardy like both and, when free from interlopers, spectacularly beautiful.

ceratozamia hildae cone

This one was a male and was producing a number of its bizarre male cones as shown above. C. hildae cones when relatively young which has aided a number of US nurseries in their production. These are now available male order from a number of US nurseries and I'd encourage those in the southern US to give one ago. The rest of us will have to await the production of seeds in our respective nations by CITES approved imports.

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