This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area



September 7, 2016

What a cycad flush is


If you're new to the world of cycads, and have just started hanging around cycad people (who tend to be middle-aged guys like me), you will see a lot of excitement about flushes.

A flush is when a cycad grows. Now, you may be saying "big deal, don't all plants grow?" Yes, but most plants grow all of the time, or at least most of the time. Cycads tend to do absolutely nothing for eleven months out of the year, and then they suddenly start growing. That's a flush. Most of them, like my cycad dioon spinulousum in the photo at the top of this post, grow only once a year. Once.

So, if you don't know about flushes, it just looks like what a palm tree does every day, growing new leaves. But cycads aren't palms, they aren't even related. They just look like palms. They're a completely different, and weird, kind of plant. And they're much more ancient. They were on the planet long before flowering plants (and that includes palm trees) appeared. Yes, cycads lived with dinosaurs.

I really have no idea why cycads are so appealing to us overgrown boys, but they are. Maybe it's the dinosaur connection, maybe it's because there's an appeal to collect many different types, I don't know. But I like them, and a lot of otherwise normal men do.

So, if you see someone getting excited about a flush, they're a cycad person. And if you do, you are, too.
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