Amanda McNulty

The Dangers of Cyad Ingestion

By Amanda McNulty

Making It Grow Minute

 

 

Credit SC Public Radio

 

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Cycads have been used as emergency food in many cultures. In Florida, however, Seminole Indians relied on starch made from the native cycad, Zamia floridana, as a primary source of calories. This plant, which covered portions of Florida, became the backbone of the arrowroot flour industry which flourished from 1850 to the 1920’s.

Sago Palms Contain Neuro-Toxins

By Amanda McNulty

Coontie, Zamia floridana.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Cycads have been used for food in many cultures around the world.  A cycad native to Florida, Zamia floridana, or coontie, was almost eliminated by the production of cycad flour; mills churned out 15 tons of arrowroot flour a day.  Since cycads contain extremely dangerous neuro-toxins that cause horrific symptoms in humans decades after consumption, the plant material must be processed with great care to render it safe. 

The Long History of Cyads

By Amanda McNulty

Making It Grow Minute

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Sago palms are actually cycads, which are grouped with gymnosperms like pine trees. They are among the oldest seed plants to evolve on our planet.   Cycad fossils date back to almost 300 million years ago and once flourished worldwide.  They were the dominant plant group during the Mesozoic; the period sometimes called both the age of the dinosaur and the age of the cycads.

The Ancient Cyads

By Amanda McNulty

Making It Grow Minute

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Sago palms are the most readily available cold hardy cycads that we can grow in most of South Carolina. Well-established cycads will usually survive temperatures down to 15 degrees, but their beautiful, stiff, pinnately-compound leaves which normally stay green and live through winter are killed when we have unusually low temperatures. It’s best to let those dead leaves most of our sagos now have remain on the plants as they can give some protection to the growth points.

Helping Your Sago Palm Survive the Winter

By Amanda McNulty

Sago Palm, Cycas revoluta.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One plant that really suffered during our December ice age was the sago palm, Cycas revoluta. Sago palms represent some of the oldest living plants on earth and are not palms but cycads. According to Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center (a great resource –just put the topic you want to know about followed by Clemson hgic), sago palms are hardy in most of zone 8.

Storm Water Runoff a Threat to Hitchcock Woods

By Amanda McNulty

Making It Grow Minute

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Each week on Making It Grow Terasa Lott gives us a water quality tip. Rain barrels and rain gardens are designed to help stop storm water runoff from properties, water that carries pollutants, invasive plant seeds, and causes erosion. Small steps but they can help. However, Hitchcock Woods in Aiken receives most of the storm water from the City of Aiken via underground pipes. One event resulted in thirty-five million gallons of water rushing into the woods over nine hours.

Managing the Ecology of Hitchcock Woods

By Amanda McNulty

Making It Grow Minute

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. It wasn’t hunting that attracted the wealthy Hitchcock family to South Carolina in the early 1900’s; rather it was the well drained sands that provided good footing for horse sporting activities soils that also grew pine trees beautifully but not crops. Their legacy, Aiken’s urban forest Hitchcock Woods, was home to red cockaded woodpeckers until the 1970’s.

The Outdoor Dream Foundation

By Amanda McNulty

Making It Grow Minute

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. While reading the Department of Natural Resource’s award-winning magazine, South Carolina Wildlife, I learned about a remarkable organization that DNR partners with.

Cabbage Palm Caterpillars

By Amanda McNulty

Making It Grow Minute

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We like to think of nature as being in balance and generally native plants can survive feeding from native insects due to coevolution.  Bee keepers who want to produce palmetto honey  have to move hives into coastal areas thick with sabal species, unfortunately they fairly frequently have poor yields when the cabbage palm caterpillar, the larva of an owlet moth, has large outbreaks. Unlike most Lepidopteran larva, these caterpillars don’t eat the palmetto leaves.

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