This is a female cycad. Male cycads form a pointed cone when they bloom.
The seeds were snug under a blanket of fluffy stuff with sharp spines attached.
The fronds of a cycad have sharp ends, discouraging nest robbers.
There were seeds of all sizes.
With Ike's able help, I floated the seeds in a container of water. The bigger seeds sank to the bottom. Those should be viable seeds with an embryo.
Smaller seeds floated. I put them in a separate container to see
if they take up water and sink.
We will soak the big seeds 2-3 days until the thick orange seed coat which contains growth inhibitors softens. We will scrape off the orange stuff, plant the seeds partly exposed and wait for sprouts.
Mother cycad is the one to the rear. The near, smaller one was a pup from my neighbor's cycad that rooted over the winter 2011. Cycads in the gardenare already forming this year's fronds.
Update: I found more information. One expert suggested cutting open seeds to see if they contained a viable embryo, if you didn't mind sacrificing a seed. Curiosity got the best of me, so I cut open two small seeds to see what was in there.
Hollow, just as I read. There is something in there -- I hope it is viable, at least in the larger seeds that I intend to plant. In the article I read, it said that the growing embryo will push a root out the star-shaped end of the seed, followed by a leaf. This is not a quick process. I will wait.
Linking to Tootsie's Friday Flaunt Your Flowers and Fertlize Your Plants.