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Eastern Cape giant cycad

Encephalartos altensteinii

Cycad, Broodboom (Afr.)

This giant cycad grows in dense coastal vegetation and riverine bush along the Eastern Cape coastline. The base of the cycad is often enlarged and tapers towards the crown. Leaves can be 2 -3 m long. Female plants produce 1 - 5 cones per crown. These cones are egg-shaped, 40 -50 cm in length, yellow, covered in fine brown hair, and produce red seeds.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Fruiting time
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring

Harvesting

Not usually harvested

Propagation

Seed
Sow fertile seeds in moist potting soil with added sand to help draining and prevent rot.
Suckers
Allow suckers to grow at least two years attacked to the mother plant to develop enough reserves to survive as new plant. Make a clean cut to remove and sterilise the wound with Flowers-of-Sulphar to help heal.

Special features

Geography

Origin
South Africa, Eastern Cape
Natural climate
Humid, sub-tropical

Environment

Light
Full Shade
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Edible
The Afrikaans name 'Broodboom' came from the traditional use of the pith as bread - note that Cycads is toxic and it needs a 3month fermentation process to break down those toxins!
Notes
Ornamental

Personality

Family
Zamiaceae
Flower colour
none
Scent
None

Problems

Scale and rotting are the main obstackles!
Root Rot
Root Rot
Phytophthora spp.

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