PRODUCING VIABLE SEED
Cycads are one of the oldest cone-bearing plants in the world and produce either male or female cones when mature. As the insect responsible for pollination in nature is not present in the garden, all the seed produced are genetically pure and no cross-pollination takes place.
To produce viable seed the pollen from the male cones is collected and stored in a freezer for up to 5 years awaiting a receptive female cone of the same species. The pollen is injected into the female cones either by wet method (pollen mixed with water), or dry method (using an air compressor).
Over the last 12 years, many of the rarest of cycads in the collection Cycad Gardens of Eudlo have grown to maturity and are now being pollinated by hand. Each year thousands of fertile seed and seedlings are produced and distributed to cycad collectors and botanical gardens. Peter has exchanged or donated plants to 5 of the national botanical gardens in Australia helping them to build their cycad collections. Many of the seedlings produced 10 to 20 years ago are now mature and Peter provides pollen, when needed, to other cycad growers so they can produce their own viable seed. This is conservation through propagation.