Cycas revoluta

digitalphrag(NC)October 6, 2010

About 5 years ago, I bought a c. revoluta to plant out in the garden and test for hardiness in the area I was living at the time. Unfortunately, that same year we had one of the coldest winters on record and the plant died.

I left it in the ground until the following spring, but when I saw no signs of life and realized the trunk was mushy and rotten, I dug it up and tossed it into the compost pile, never to be seen again.

But, just today, my previous roommate sent me a photo from his phone of a single solitary leaf asking me what it was. Sure enough, it's c. revoluta.

He's not a big plant person and definitely hasn't purchased or planted any of them in the yard, so I know for a fact that he didn't buy one, plant it, and then forget about it.

The location of the plant is also suspicious. It popped up in another portion of the yard, probably 20+ feet from where it had originally been planted. However, it would be easy to assume that it might've been laid there when adding compost to that particular bed.

Anyway, I guess my question is, is it really possible that a seemingly dead and mushy plant that was presumed to be dead 5 years ago might've gone dormant for some number of years, and then when conditions were right, sprouted a new leaf?

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denninmi(8a)

Seems unlikely, but miracles do happen. If it truly is a C. revoluta leaf (and, they are pretty distinctive, IMO), there is no real way to "prove" it came from your original plant one way or the other. But, it could happen, I guess. Most likely scenario, SHOULD such a thing have occurred, is that there was a small pup/offset at the base of the main, rotted plant that somehow survived the cold, survived in the compost dormant as you say, and grew when it got into a more favorable environment.

I guess I'd say this -- a pessimist would most likely dismiss this as an improbability, while an optimist would say it confirms the amazing will to live innate in all creatures.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 3:12PM
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digitalphrag(NC)

Thanks!

Yeah, that's exactly what I said to my buddy, it must've been a miracle.

It would not have shocked or surprised me if this thing showed up a year or maybe even two after I discarded it, but for it to rise from the ashes 5 years later....just seems improbable but not entirely impossible. And yet as improbable as it seems, its the most likely thing that could have happened.

And yes, I agree, revoluta has very distinctive leaves, particularly compared to any kind of garden plant I ever planted and have ever grown in this area. That particular site is zone 7a, so C. revoluta is only really marginally hardy in those conditions. But anyway, based on the photo I was sent, I have no doubt as to the ID of the leaf.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 5:20PM
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tropicpalms

yes, def. possible. how do you think they survived the earths freeze as dinosaurs could not... i have many that will come back after years for many many of reasons they are a super hardy plant! -Justin in VB

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 9:48PM
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josephine_sc(7/8 Clemson, SC)

C revoluta does tend to adapt. I've had several planted in my yard for years. The first few years they lost all their leaves to the cold over winter and put out new leaves about May. Now they keep their leaves all winter.
(In fairness our area is warmer than 7a. We're on the border of 7b and 8a.)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 3:07AM
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Matfx7

They are zombies as they have ability to rise from the dead.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 1:27AM
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