Field of Science

That which was lost is found - cycad cone

Cycads make some pretty impressive cones, and the only problem for those of us in the teaching business is that they sometimes do so when you don't have a class or a class at the right stage to appreciate them. This is why botanists are so found of taking advantage of the situation and pickling specimens for later use. However when the cone in question is a pollen cone of Ceratozamia that is some 50 cm tall, you ain't gonna get it in a jelly jar. Now back in the old days, museum jars of various sizes were common place, and some were quite large, but now most such things are gone or residing in antique shoppes. So to preseve one of these monster cones a very large graduated cylinder was pressed into service and the top sealed to prevent evaporation of the ethanol solution. Fine, but now you have to find a clever place to store the specimen, and in this the Phactor was too clever for himself having found a place so safe that it was forgotten and went missing for a couple of years. But while searching for other bits and pieces, the pickled cone turned up, and now the storage problem is renewed. In case this sounds like all too much trouble, the cycad in question has not coned since! the cones shown here are about 30 cm tall and each leafy unit bears a pair of sori on the lower surface and a single pair of reduced leaflets projecting outward.

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