I have one in my garden, which we 'inherited' when buying the house 6 years ago. I have had to 'register' it but never received a confirmation that I ever did so and would much rather see it placed in the wild. So - what happens in a case such as this?
There is no crime in owning a cycad. Contact the cycad society over here
. I think it is quite a mission to reintroduce a single plant back into the wild, particularly if it's still small, it will most probably just end up in someone elses garden!
I would suggest that you have it permitted and enjoy it's company. Nature conservation officials are trained to spot "stolen" plants. You do not specifically need a permit for seedlings,only a letter from the person you bought it from or a reasonable explanation as to how it happened to be in you possession. Then of course, they do grow! So even if you own a single leaf seedling sooner or later it will have to be permitted anyway and the law provides for that. I own a few plants which are very rare but they were cultivated and I legally bought them as seedlings or slightly larger plants with permits. After many years in my garden and under ideal conditions they have become quite large (in cycad terms). I think the "cycad law" is pretty much like the "gun law", they are keen to permit legal plants.
I am totally for pollinating "captive" specimens because the more legal plants on the market the smaller the market would be for "stolen" ones. That is why I search for pollen when any of my females happen to cone.
Cycads deserve the same protection as Rhino and elephant because they are even more rare. Of the Encephalartos woodii there are no plants in the wild and no females what so ever.
"Encephalartos woodii Sander
Family: Zamiaceae (Cycad Family)
Common Name: Wood's Cycad
Encephalartos woodii is a cycad famous for being extinct in nature, and for the fact that there is no known female specimen on Earth.
Only one clump of male plants has ever been found. John Medley Wood (1827-1915) found this clump of four plants in 1895 on a steep south-facing slope on the fringes of the Ngoye forest about 30 km from Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal. Medley Wood was a merchant sailor, farmer, trader, sportsman and botanist. He founded the Natal Herbarium and was Curator of the Durban Botanic Gardens. In 1903, Wood sent his deputy James Wylie to fetch some of the smaller offsets and three of them were grown in the Durban Botanic Gardens. In a 1907 expedition, Wylie collected two of the larger trunks, both of which are still to be seen on the Old Conservatory terrace in Durban Botanic Gardens. In 1907 Wylie noted that the largest of the four trunks was badly mutilated did not expect it to survive. He was right, by 1912 there was only one 3m tall trunk left in the wild, and in 1916, the Forestry Department, concerned about the survival of the remaining stem, arranged to have it removed and sent to the Government Botanist in Pretoria. It is thought that this trunk subsequently died in 1964."