December 2, 2008

Plant propagation at my farm: See more of what keeps the gardeners busy!

Even though winter is rapidly approaching, there is still so much for the gardeners to do. Fortunately for them, many of these tasks take place in the warmth of the greenhouses. Jodi and Erika have been busy with plant propagation. It’s so gratifying to obtain many new plants from just one or two originals, particularly when a plant is costly and rare, like my cycads.

Cycads are an ancient group of plants dating back millions and millions of years. In fact, fossils of cycads have been discovered, placing them on earth long before the dinosaurs. Often confused with palm trees and tree ferns, botanically speaking, cycads differ greatly from these plants. For one thing, they are dioecious, meaning that male and female reproductive structures are formed on separate plants, and reproduction is by seed. Cycads also have a pachycaul stem – one that looks like a woody trunk but is quite pithy and actually, contains very little true wood tissue.

Once prolific all around the globe, today, cycads are native to tropical and subtropical regions and only about 250 species still exist. Sadly, many of the remaining species are facing possible extinction. However, because of their stateliness and beautiful foliage, these remarkable plants have become highly desirable specimens in private and public gardens all around the world.

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