Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Coontie Time Again


Just a short Wednesday message since I posted late Tuesday night ...
It's coontie (Zamia sp.) seed collecting time again.
If you click on that link, you might wonder about the Atala butterfly here at PF ... we are too far north as far as I know.
The patio table on my porch has almost 300 coontie fruits drying on it. They will go into a seed bed out in the "garden" where 150+ seedlings from last year's seeds are thriving.
I'm continuing to monitor developing coontie cones around the property so I can gather their seeds before any critters do. Several plants have cones that are splitting and showing orange fruits within, but the cones are still tight, so I wait.
Eventually those cones will loosen and spill their treasure.
I will be there when they do.

16 comments:

pablo said...

Once again, when I read the title of your post I thought it was going to be another tale of your misspent youth.

Hurricane Teen said...

I love the look of coonntie seeds. Have you ever tasted them or are they some horrific posion? I've never dealt with them before.

amarkonmywall said...

Looks sort of like a cross between a pomegranite and corn. My little coontie farm of ten seedlings is doing well- they were planted out of pots about a week ago but they are still small enough that they are all in a little spot together until they grow bigger. Thank you!

amarkonmywall said...

(Pablo is naughty funny)

dani813 said...

I need to get mine planted. Hopefully later today. Thanks for the info about how to get them started a few weeks ago. Since my quest for a Golden Polish Bantam for hubby for Valentines took me away from the blog world I'll give my best to Chewie.Hope she keeps getting better.

tsiya said...

You keep reminding me of stuff I'd like to do, LOL.

tai haku said...

hurricane teen - you're right; they are poisonous. cycad seeds can do horrible things to a human body (although there are ways of preparing some species for consumption).

Thanks for the coontie update FC - I'll have to check a few of the coning cycads round here to see if anything's dropping yet.

Eva Matthews said...

One of my teaching projects is building school gardens. We have a source for Atala butterfly larva if we can find 6 plants for out garden. Currently, I've got 3 donated. I didn't realize the seeds were so bright!

How long do you dry the seeds?

SophieMae said...

So glad to hear Chewie is doing better! She looks to be quite a charmer.

You're a better gardener than I if you beat the critters to anything. I do manage a few bowls of blackberries each year, but those things are pretty much like kudzu, anyhow.

bluebird of paradise said...

i thought it was the innards of a turtle. what a great photo,glad to hear chewie is on the mend.

Floridacracker said...

Pablo,
Locked in a vault.

HTeen,
Toxic. Gloves are suggested for peeling the fruit from the seed.

Vicki,
Glad to hear they are thriving! Pablo is a baaaad boy.

Dani,
I hope you found that banty. Thanks for the Chewie thoughts!

Tsiya,
Good!

Tai,
Good advice to HT.
My larger Sagos are not showing any fruity activity yet.

Eva,
The orange covering is a growth retardant. You remove it and notch the seed to speed up germination. I think you can plant them immediately.
I'll start peeling mine soon, notching them and then into the soil.

Sophie,
I'm not sure what critter eats these, but the cones are sometimes spread apart by something.

Bluebird,
EEEuuuuu!
Thanks for thinking of Chewie!

Laura said...

(laughing at Pablo's comment...)

robin andrea said...

Oh no! I left a comment here this morning and it disappeared. I really should keep my eyes on those things. I said I was going to follow that link to see if coontie was indeed poisonous. Interestingly, it is, but it is also considered a living fossil. How cool is that? It's like being able to raise coelocanth from seeds.

Doug Taron said...

We have tried to grow coontie from seed before without success. My partner loves cycads. He has succeeded with cardboard palm (Zamia furfuracea,actually a cycad) but never coontie.

Atalas are absolutely gorgeous butterflies. The only time I ever saw them was on Key Biscayne in 1983. That whole area looked like it had been hit by a bomb when I went through about a year after Hurricane Andrew hit. About the only thing I saw sprouting were the coonties.

Sarah said...

Notch the seeds to speed up germination? That is genius! Why did I think of it before? Thanks FC!

Floridacracker said...

Laura,
Yes, I often do too.

Robin,
Dinosaur plants for sure!

Doug,
That huge taproot would anchor them well during a 'cane. Coonties are notoriously slow to germinate if you don't peel them and scarify them.

Sarah,
Welcome!
Man, I'd love to take credit for that idea, but I found it on an IFAS handout.
It made a huge difference in germination time. 3 months vs about a year for unnotched seeds.