2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Withering monkey puzzles

Despite keeping monkey puzzle seeds and plants in a good shape, things can still go wrong. This can be the case even when everything looks fine and even after a healthy root and event tree has started growing. Below you will see three examples where this has happened. The reason for the failures can be several, such as: too little water, too much water, too cold, too early disconnection from the seed, disturbed/damaged roots, outright snapped roots and generally just bad specimens I suspect.

There has been much death and decay in the last two blog entries. I promise that the next one will be more up-beat.

Example 1: Broken connection to the seed

The root has dried up a bit so not easy to see what has happened. The main point is that the root had grown quite long and  and by accidentone of the connections to the see

Above you can clearly see the broken connection and this caused the root to wither.

 

Example 2: Broken root

In the below pictures you will only see a dried up Monkey Puzzle tree. From the start the sprout of this tree looked different compared to other samples. So this may never have been a good specimen. However, I did notice that the tip of the root was protruding from a hole in the bottom of the plastic flower pot. This seems to have damaged the root and preventing it from growing further. End result: dead tree. To prove the point that his was a healthy one, I will show two older pictures first.

 

Example 3: Cause unknown

In this third and final example the cause of death is less certain. The main reason being that it was given away for somebody else to safeguard. The problem may have been that the plant broke from the root, or it may have dried up. In any case, pictures as follows:

The seeds that didn’t make it

Although a large number seeds from the October/November 2011 batch germinated and grew into infant monkey puzzle trees, quite a few of them did not survive.

Out of approximatelly 24 seeds in total, 8 had not developed into anything after 2 – 2.5 months. Four of them did not seem to react at all. Three showd clear signs of a seed that drew a lot of water and started growing, however no root established itself. This could be because the root suffered from too much water and rotted. The remaining seed had developed a root, but the tip of the root was damaged. The plant was therefore not able to draw water and nutrients from the soil and stopped growing.

As the seeds remained in the soil for so long they showed signs of rotting and getting attacked by insects.

Less than two weeks ago a seed did indeed germinate, so some of the seeds could potentially develop into something. However, we will now focus on the ones that got past the first stage.

Below are some pictures of the seeds that failed and have now been discarded.

Early signs of a tree

The next couple of pictures shows how the initial sprout starts revealing what will ultimately become the Monkey Puzzle tree. The below pictures are from three different seeds 3-4 weeks after germination, during the time span of a few days. From the three different seeds you can see how differently they develop even at this early stage.

If anybody knows the botanical name of this phase, please advise!

====Plant 1:====

====Plant 2:====

====Plant 3:====

The next stage – the sprout

At this stage the established seeds shall be left planted and undisturbed. Shortly the roots will start growing lateral “branches”. Disturbing the root at this stage could cause the plant to die. For more (general) details on the initial development stages of a seed see this link.

The following pictures show the planted seed as it continues developing. In this post I’ll show some picuters as the first signs of what will become the monkey puzzle tree emerge. I am not sure it the right term is hypocotyl, but will assume this is the correct term for now. The first image shows the prout clearly splitting up into two bits. These are still connected to the seed in one end, and onto the rood on the other.

The sprout is splitting up

The next images shows how the plant develops under normal growth:

The sprount is splitting

A closeup of same.

And a final picture.

In the next post we shall follow this in more detail. Who said watching paint dry was boring??

(This blog is now published on Google)

Root 2.0

Ok, so the seed has finally germinated and the root is growing. What then? As I have mentioned earlier the root can easily be damaged. However in the name of science I have exposed the roots in order to display them here. This is best done by using a pointy object to loosen up the soil around the root. As long as it is still relatively young (and the root has not branched out) it is possible to pull the whole thing up to have a closer look:

14 days old

 

For sake of comparison of scale I have brought back the good old match stick. As you can see the top part is turning green. It is also slightly thinker just beneath the seed. This is what will become the base of the trunk – in due course.

The next example is another seed, approximately 14 days after initial signs of germination. You will see it has also started turning green but the root is shorter than in the previous example.

Another seed, approximately 14 days old

 

Signs of a root

A few days after the initial signs of germination, the root should be forming. The next couple of pictures shows what you can expect to see during this phase. The Araucaria Araucana root is extremely sensitive, and there is a risk that the plant will suffer as a result of exposure to the open. However in the name of documenting the life of these seeds I will take my chances.

The root is developing

Here is another example of a healthy looking root:

Another early root

Close up - only a few days old

 

As you will see the colour of the root is still predominantly white. Very shortly this will change, and the foundation for the trunk of the tree will soon emerge. The next blog entry will look at how the seeds develop after another two weeks of growth.

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