|Author: ||B. Schutzman|
Cycads, an endangered group of plants from the world’s tropics and subtropics, have been a mysterious and intriguing plant group to botanists since they were first documented more than 200 years ago.
The number of described species continues to grow as subtropical and tropical regions are thoroughly explored; the latest count published in the World List of Cycads (q.v.) is 343. Interest in these plants has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, especially since accurate information has become readily available on the internet.
The World List of Cycads, the Cycad Pages, the Cycad Society’s Web site, and a number of other groups readily share information and photographs.
Many species of cycads are endangered, and both plants and seeds can be both difficult and expensive to obtain.
The seeds of several species can be difficult to germinate and keep alive.
The purpose of this paper is to explain and recommend the “baggie method” of germination, a technique that already is well-known in palms.
It is not a new method for cycads by any means, but too many people are still unfamiliar with its ease and benefits.
The method increases germination percentage and survivability of scarce and expensive seed.
The information is especially useful to both the nursery industry and hobbyists; it will ultimately reduce the pressure exerted by poaching on indigenous cycad populations by making plants of the species easier to obtain.
Indirectly, greater availability and ease of germination will reduce cost per plant, making cycad species readily available to those who wish to grow them.
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