Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Eggs in the Nest of a Living Fossil

I wasn't eggspecting living Fossil Eggs when I searched in the nest of a cycad.

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.

Happy Easter.
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. 


  1. How interesting Nell, and to think they survive up there with your winter weather.

    Have a lovely Easter.


  2. This was so interesting. I've never seen anything like this. I can't wait to see these eggs sprout!

  3. Fascinating posting, Nell. All new to me. P. x

  4. We have those plants here but I never
    thought to try to harvest the eggs..
    Very interesting and I would like to
    see a new post with the baby sprouts
    coming through..
    Thanks so much for your visit to
    my blog and your sweet comments.
    I'm feeling so much better today as
    I gave my back 3 days so far, to
    get back to normal...Time to get back to the garden because the temps will be up to 80 on Easter..
    Happy Easter

  5. Very interesting post. I learned a lot from this post.

  6. I have a male plant I rescued from the side of the road several years back. The first time it shot up a cone I kind of freaked out because I thought it would die afterwards but a little research took care of that worry. Last year he shot up two cones. You know something else I find amazing about these plants? I have been told that they are poisonous to dogs. I have 6 dogs that play around this plant and they have not had any problems. They'll even sleep under it.


  7. This was a interest post. I have never heard of this plant. I looked it up on Wikipedia and saw an that some suspect it of causing neurological diseases in humans.....not to worry; that is caused only if we eat the bats that feed on these seeds. I think we are all safe!

  8. awesome!!!! can't wait to see it growing!
    Thanks for linking in today...I hope you will again soon....Happy Easter friend!
    I have shared your post on the tootsie time facebook page

    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

  9. It will be interesting to see your results after all that work. Good luck!


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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