Chasing Cycas Zambalensis

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Male cone of Cycas zambalensis

Cycaszambalensis is the most recently described cycas species from the Philippines.  It was raised to specific rank only in 2005 by Dr. Domingo A. Madulid of the Philippine National Museum and Dr. Esperanza Maribel G. Agoo of the Department of Biology, De La Salle University - Manila.

It was named after Zambales, a province in Luzon, Philippines, northwest of Manila.  FYI.  Zambales is home to Mt. Pinatubo, the volcano with the second largest volcanic eruption of the twentieth century (1991).  The amount of ash released during the eruption eventually covered the earth and caused global cooling with the entire planet being cooled by 0.4 to 0.5 ℃.

The Cycaszambalensis is a very attractive plant, resembling C.revoluta when young and C.panzhihuaensis when mature.  Of course, this is according to some articles I read on the internet.  I had not seen a real specimen until yesterday.  I had been searching the entire Metropolitan Manila for a specimen but have repeatedly come up empty-handed.

I had no other option but to chase it to where I knew that it could be found, the province after which it was named.  Off I went to Zambales.

Saturday morning, November 13, 2010 - The chase is on.                               ***Time and odometer readings on the lower right corner

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Must-Do #1:  Get money.

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Must-Do #2: Get gas.

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Must-Do #3: Get wife to work to minimize opposition to plant purchases.  :-D

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Leaving the city.

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Jollibee breakfast treat for the kids for keeping me company on this trip.

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View of Mt. Arayat, habitat of another endemic species (Cycaschamberlainii)

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Entering Subic Bay Freeport, a former US military base and once part of the province of Zambales.

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The hills across the Bucao River are home to the Cycaszambalensis. Note that the river is still silted with ash and lahar from the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

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FOUND IT!!!  This is definitely worth the trip.

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Wavy form of the Cycaszambalensis.  Of course, I had to have an offset of this unusual specimen.

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Young leaves doing what Macro Monday and regular readers of this blog know by now -- unfurling.  I promise to refrain from posting leaves unfurling for the rest of the year.  :-D

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The loot! Happy Plant Chaser!  

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