Saturday, June 13, 2009

Puerta Rican Momma

Remember that cute little male Zamia porturicensis? That's him in the foreground to this shot….

zamia portoricensis male & female

….and behind him, looking slightly strangled and overwhelmed by various creepers and climbers, is his better half a female Zamia porturicensis. Notwithstanding her swamping by whatever that trifoliate thing is she is in fine health; a wonderful thick colony with multiple heads. A little delving revealed that she was indeed female and coning although I couldn't get a good shot of her cones – this was the best I came up with.

zamia portoricensis2

There was another small plant in the group too but that was out of shot unfortunately. Growing cycads in groups of three or more like this is ideal – the numbers game suggests you will end up with both genders (although it is worth noting that some species produce very strongly skewed gender ratios like Microcycas calcoma). In addition down here in the Caribbean and in Florida there is always the chance of insect pollination by something (notwithstanding that in Puerto Rico itself pesticide use has damaged the pollinator population to the point that few seeds are being produced). The plants also seem to do better in colonies for some reason I think.

Anyway adult plant; check, male cone; check, female cone; check – that's Zamia porturicensis pretty much complete for the E,W&W's purposes…..unless and until I see a nice one or get my hands on some seeds…….

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