Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A living fossil

"If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territory, and crashes through barriers..."
(from the movie "Jurassic park")

In one of the first 'must buy' lists of plants I sent home, it includes a list of cycads that I wanted them to look for. One is the Sago palm which I was certain would not be difficult to find since it's a common plant species. There are a couple of them already established in the garden. I was unsure though if they'll be able to find the rest of the cycads in the list, but its worth trying anyway.

The mature Cardboard palm with cones in our humble garden.

One cycad in my wish list is the Cardboard palm (Zamia furfuracea). One of the 'living fossil' plants still around in this modern age, it makes a good accent or specimen plant. Its leaves can grow to several feet long which emerge from a central point. The individual leaves are thick and leathery, slightly fuzzy and feels a little like cardboard when touched, hence the name 'Cardboard palm'.

I was pleasantly surprised when Mom said that we already have this plant in our current garden. And, that it's already big and growing vigorously. I was inclined to believe her but just to be sure I asked for a picture anyway.

Two of the young Cardboard palm cycads (lower left and upper right) in the nursery.

Indeed, the picture I received is of a Cardboard palm and it's big, healthy and in bloom (in the form of cones). This is proof that this plant will thrive in our garden's climatic condition. So, I asked them to buy some more of this beautiful species of cycad. It is nice to know that this plant, a holdover from the dinosaur age, is thriving well in our current garden and hopefully will continue to do so in the future garden.

Cycads are commonly referred to as 'palms', but they are not true palms.