Soft, curls, pain

I don't want to say too much today, but I do want to share something that I think is quite beautiful, and it only happens once a year at most -- although I haven't seen it for a couple of years.

It's the growing of new leaves on my Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta). The plant should do this every year but I guess it wasn't very happy last summer because it skipped that year. This year's emergence is so much more exciting because of that!


Two years ago I never looked at the emergent leaves so closely, so never realized how soft, fuzzy, and beautiful they are. They're really attractive when in this first soft stage.

This is what they look in relation to the rest of the plant:

This plant always has great texture.

I'm not sure why the existing leaves started yellowing, but maybe it was a nutrient deficiency. In any case, I'm not looking at the old leaves right now -- I'm focused on the new ones.

Three days later, they're in the curls stage, which is very brief -- just a day or two. Each leaf element begins to unroll:

Eventually the leaves will unfurl completely, and enter their permanent painful stage.

Look: the leave are already tipped with blood!

The mature leaves are very stiff and pointy. It's a painful plant to walk into while wearing shorts, or anything except heavy denim really.

Since Sago palm is not cold-hardy enough to survive our winters here, it must be brought inside for the winter. That's why I've kept the plant in its original small pot -- I don't want it to get much larger, as we already bump into its sharp-tipped leaves all winter long. Bigger plant means more chance of leg stabs. (I want it to grow new leaves -- I just don't want them to be too large.)

Still, it's such a pretty plant, especially when in these "gentle" stages, looked at up close.


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Katie M  – (July 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM)  

Absolutely beautiful plant, lovely pictures too, Alan :)

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 29, 2011 at 9:54 AM)  

Wow, these photos are amazing. I wish I had taken them as my sago palm just had a flush recently. Beautiful work.

anne  – (July 29, 2011 at 11:26 AM)  

fascinating & incredible photos of the unfurling leaves!

Anonymous –   – (July 29, 2011 at 5:28 PM)  

Wow! Your photos of the "curls" stage, make me curl my toes! Such beauty is incredible and sometimes almost unbelievable. There is so much beauty in the things surrounding us gardeners! I don't have one of these but maybe someday...Thank you for sharing...

Jennifer  – (July 29, 2011 at 10:40 PM)  

I love the curls! It reminds me of fern fiddles. So beautiful!

Pauline  – (July 30, 2011 at 1:12 AM)  

Beautiful photos, especialy of the "curl" stage, nature is so artistic when we chance to look closely !

Alan  – (July 30, 2011 at 8:13 AM)  

Thanks all! I love the curls too, and now they're gone. At least I captured them in this post. :-)

Garden Lily  – (July 30, 2011 at 6:44 PM)  

Your photos are beautiful. I especially love the curly ones. Thanks so much for sharing.

Simon baldwin  – (August 2, 2011 at 3:25 AM)  

Great photo's Alan!!!
I love the Sago palm!
They do say no pleasure without pain.... this seems to prove that theory! :)

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