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Wednesday, April 22 2015

Cycads have evolved and adapted to grow in a range of habitats and weather conditions world wide.  However, plant species with a variety of shades of blue can be found arid hot habitats.  Palms and cycads are just two of the types of plants that can display blue leaf colorations.  Succulents and cacti also are heavily represented with a variety of blue shades.

Encephalartos horridus close-up
Encephalartos horridus Encephalartos horridus close-up

The blue coloration that is associated with certain plant species is actually due to a thin waxy substance that is produced by the plant to provide some protection from heat and sun exposure.  It also helps the plant to retain moisture by protecting the plant from desiccation or excessive transpiration.  This waxy substance isn’t actually blue-ish in color, but more in the range of off-white.  As a thin coating on the green leaves it gives a visual appearance that the leaves are blue.

The waxy coating can be easily rubbed with your fingers to expose the green leaf beneath.  This coating also can begin to wear off naturally from older leaves that have been on the plant for a season or longer.

In the future when we hear the comments from others that “the blues are so beautiful,” perhaps we may realize that their beauty is only skin deep.

Grow and prosper,


Posted by: AT 05:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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