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Encephalartos

New Leaves In My Garden

Encephalartos gets its name, translated as ‘bread-head,' from the use of its cones and seeds as food by African aboriginals. Its species are found throughout Africa south of the Sahara, ranging from north of the Equator on both coasts, through the central tropical regions bordering the Congo River, and south-eastward to the extreme southern coast of Cape Province. Currently about 55 species are recognised, but new species are still being described and the total may eventually reach 65 or so.

 

Certain species of Encephalartos have rather small, subterranean stems but others have massive aerial trunks, several to nearly 10 metres tall when mature, always protected by a sturdy covering of old leaf bases and cataphylls. Although most all of the species have a tendency to produce basal suckers when old, so that in nature the plants sometimes occur in clumps.

The leaves of Encephalartos frequently are leathery and very stiff, characters associated with arid conditions.

The cones of both sexes are frequently long and heavy, sometimes solitary but more often several in number.

In many species the mature cones are brightly coloured in red, orange, yellow, or green. Seeds of Encephalartos are eaten by monkeys (baboons) and birds, all of which have colour vision.

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Encephalartos Ferox Female Cone Sm
Female Cone
Encephalartos Woodii Male Cone Sm
Male Cone
Encephalartos Small
Habitat
Encephalartos Woodii Small
Cultivation

 

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Cycad International | 61 Morris Road, Katherine, Northern Territory, 0850, Australia
Managing Directors : Josef & Karen Perner
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