Candide
Download the free app
Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play
Candide logo
Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

Wood's cycad

Encephalartos woodii

Encephalartos woodii is a cycad famous for being extinct in nature, and for the fact that there is no known female specimen on Earth. Wood's Cycad is a handsome plant, with dark, glossy green leaves growing up to 2-3 m long, with a gracefully arching shape, creating a dense umbrella-shaped crown. Reaches up to 6m in height with a trunk diameter of up to 90 cm at the base, 60cm near the crown. The 100+ year old specimens at Durban Botanic Gardens trunk circumference exceeds 2 m and has an estimated mass of 2,5 tons. A characteristic that is unique to Encephalartos woodii is that in mature specimens the trunk broadens towards the base to support the weight of the trunk. Furthermore, towards the base of the trunk the leaf bases are so compressed by the weight it supports that the trunk is unusually smooth. Encephalartos woodii produces six to eight large, barrel-shaped, bright orange-yellow cones. These cones occasionally reach a length of 1,2 m, with a diameter of 15 - 20 cm. Cones are formed on the Kirstenbosch specimen every 2-3 years. Thunberg and other early travellers recorded that the local tribes used cycad trunks as a source of food.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Fruiting time
Winter

Harvesting

Suckers are best removed in early spring, with a clean sharp spade or a knife. They should be larger than 10 cm in diameter, the larger the sucker the better its chance of survival away from the parent.

Propagation

Division
Remove suckers forming at the base or on the stem when they are well developed.
Seed
There is no female plants, seed is out of the question.

Special features

Geography

Origin
Africa, South africa, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Ngoye forest.
Natural climate
Sub-tropical

Environment

Light
Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Edible
Monkeys love the fruit. The Afrikaans name 'Broodboom' came from the traditional use of the pith as bread - note that Cycads is toxic and it needs a 3 month fermentation process to break down those toxins!
Notes
Thunberg and other early travellers recorded that the local tribes used cycad trunks as a source of food

Personality

Family
Zamiaceae
Flower colour
NA
Scent
None

Problems

Few

Download the free app

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play