Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 1 of 2
 [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:13 pm
Posts: 4688
Location: Centurion, ZA
Excerpt from the South African National Biodiversity Website:

"Cycads are now the most threatened group of organisms. This was revealed in the latest global conservation assessment for cycads by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Cycads are the oldest living seed plants and have survived three mass extinction events in the earth’s history but they are facing a growing threat of extinction. The global conservation assessment of 308 cycad species shows that their status has declined from 53% threatened in 2003 to 62% threatened in 2010.

South Africa is one of the world centres of cycad diversity, with 39 species. It is also one of the global hotspots for threatened cycads: 68% of South Africa’s cycads are threatened with extinction compared to the global average of 62%. 31% from South Africa are classified as Critically Endangered, compared to the global average of 17%. South Africa also has three of the four species classified as Extinct in the Wild, two of which have become Extinct in the wild in the period between 2003 and 2010.

Removal for private collections is the main threat
The main threat in South Africa is removal from the wild for private collections and this is certainly the pressure that resulted in two species becoming Extinct in the Wild. Habitat loss, which is the main cause of decline in other parts of the world, is a lesser problem for South African cycads. More recently, bark harvesting for the medicinal trade has increased in South Africa and has also resulted in declines in cycad populations. It has even resulted in the complete loss of populations in KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape."



In the coming weeks I will discuss each one, their natural habitat, their present status and how to cultivate them. All information from other cycad lovers welcome. What can we do to help protect these beautiful plants.

Yes, some of them do occur in ourNational Parks.

Our Cycads:
E. aemulans
E. altensteinii
E. aplanatus
E. arenarius
E. brevifoliolatus
E. caffer
E. cerinus
E. cupidus
E. cycadifolius
E. dolomiticus
E. dyerianus
E. eugene-maraisii
E. ferox
E. friderici-guilielmi
E. ghellinkii
E. heenanii
E. hirsutus
E. horridus
E. humilis
E. inopinus
E. laevifolius
E. lanatus
E. latifrons
E. lebomboensis
E. lehmannii
E. longifolius
E. middelburgensis
E. msinganus
E. natalensis
E. ngoyanus
E. nubimontanus
E. paucidentatus
E. princeps
E. senticosus
E. transvenosus
E. trispinosus
E. umbeluziensis
E. villosus
E. woodii

Coming up shortly all about E. aemulans.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:09 pm
Posts: 45
Hi Duke Ellieton.
Looking forward to your series as i have a cycad looking tree in my garden and would like to identify which one it is.
Will you be showing pictures of the different cycads?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:13 pm
Posts: 4688
Location: Centurion, ZA
Yes I will bushbuck87 :thumbs_up:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:09 pm
Posts: 45
Thanks Duke Ellieton


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:57 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:13 pm
Posts: 4688
Location: Centurion, ZA
South Africa currently has seven cycad species that have fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild. Professor John Donaldson of SANBI warns that South Africa risks losing these cycad species within the next 10 years unless effective measures are put in place to stop the flow of cycads from wild
populations to private gardens. “We have seen dramatic declines in some species over ten years, one of them from ca. 700 plants to fewer than 100, and this is going to result in extinctions,” he said.

Cycads are sometime referred to as “living fossils.” SA Cycads are diverse with respect to growth forms and colour. They can be green leaved, narrow leafed or blue/grey leaved, tall stemmed or short stemmed, some are frost hardy, some have subterranean stems. Some prefer full sun and others semi shade. Cycads can tolerate a wide range of soils but the golden rule for all is that the soil must be well drained

The good news is they are relatively easy to grow and there is no need to plunder natural populations.

Some of our cycads
Image

TBC


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:27 am 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:52 pm
Posts: 2576
Location: VEREENIGING
CYCAD POACHING

While rhino poaching is increasing at an alarming rate, four species of cycads found only in South Africa are on the brink of extinction due to poaching.

Endangered Wildlife Trust's Kirsty Brebner said South Africans like to point fingers at the Chinese and Vietnamese, who use rhino horn as medicine but local citizens are buying rare, poached cycads.

Cycads are the most threatened organism on the planet and the crisis is "happening before our eyes", says the South African National Biodiversity Institute's Michele Pfab. "Imagine telling people there were only four rhino left in the wild. Well, there is a species of cycad like that," she said. Pfab said rural poor people do the "dirty work" for collectors and breeders in Gauteng, who make up a bigger market for stolen cycads.

Pfab said three species of the 38 cycads found only in South Africa have gone extinct in the past two decades and 12 species are critically endangered.

Fully grown rare cycads can sell for up to R500,000. One can legally buy cycad seedlings, which range from R100 to R3,000 a centimetre. After 10 years of growth, a 1m plant could be worth from R10,000 to R300,000.

"It is a good investment," said legal cycad seller and owner of Cycad World of Innovations, Adolph Fanfoni.
Cycads take 15 years to become reproductive and dealers and breeders don't want to buy a seedling legally and wait years for it to grow. "There are not enough big plants to go round for everybody, so they are worth a lot of money," said Pfab.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust's Rynette Coetzee said that there was a more than 60% shortage of officers that enforce environmental law and compliance in Limpopo. "There is a type of cycad in Limpopo that is poached almost every weekend and will be extinct by 2013 if current poaching levels continue," said Pfab.

"There are severe staff shortages in conservation departments in all provinces," said Coetzee. Law enforcement and compliance officers track and arrest all poachers, whether they poach rhino, cycads, lizards, succulent plants, Cape parrots or elephant. As officers are kept busy trying to stop rhino poaching, the poaching of many other animals and plants are taking place under their eyes, said Pfab.

Fanfoni said there were at least 200000 cycads in Gauteng gardens, but that many owners don't have permits as required by law. He said government does not have the staff to monitor the 27 "localities where cycads are left in the wild" and check if people with cycads in their gardens have permits.

CYCAD BIOLOGY

Cycads are seed plants typically characterized by a stout and woody (ligneous) trunk with a crown of large, hard and stiff, evergreen leaves. They usually have pinnate leaves. The individual plants are either all male or all female (dioecious). Cycads vary in size from having a trunk that is only a few centimeters tall to trunks up to several meters tall. They typically grow very slowly and live for a very long time. Some specimens are known to be as much as 1,000 years old.

Cycads are found across much of the subtropical and tropical parts of the world. They are found in South and Central America (where the greatest diversity occurs), Mexico, the Antilles, southeastern United States, Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and southern and tropical Africa, where at least 65 species occur. Some can survive in harsh semidesert climates, others in wet rain forest conditions and some in both. Some can grow in sand or even on rock, some in oxygen-poor swampy bog-like soils rich in organic material, and some in both. Some are able to grow in full sun, some in full shade, and some in both. Some are salt tolerant.

Cycads belong to the biological division Cycadophyta. There are three extant families of cycads, Cycadaceae, Stangeriaceae, and Zamiaceae. Though they are a minor component of the plant kingdom today, during the Jurassic period they were extremely common. They have changed little since the Jurassic, compared to some major evolutionary changes in other plant divisions.

Cycads are gymnosperms (naked seeded), meaning that their unfertilized seeds (ovules) are open to the air to be directly fertilized by pollination, as contrasted with angiosperms, which have enclosed seeds with more complex fertilization arrangements. Cycads have very specialized pollinators, usually a specific kind of beetle.

The cycad fossil record dates to the early Permian, 280 mya (million years ago). One of the first colonizers of terrestrial habitats.

Encephalartos woodii is extinct in the wild, and all living specimens are clones of the type. In recent years, many cycads have been dwindling in numbers and may face risk of extinction because of theft and unscrupulous collection from their natural habitats, as well as from habitat destruction. About 23% of the 305 extant cycad species are either critically endangered or endangered, and 15% are vulnerable.

CYCAD POLLINATION

Cycads and the insects that are essential to their reproduction have become locked into a symbiosis where they are entirely dependant on each other.

Without the insects the cycads cannot reproduce and without the cycads the insects cannot reproduce. Both have evolved strategies to ensure the partnership works. For instance male cones of the cycad heat up during the day, attracting the insects that become covered with pollen and as they move about transfer it to the female cones.

Insects lay their eggs in the seeds of the female cones so that only 1 in 200 or 300 may be viable and, taken together with the coning frequency which can be as infrequent as once in 35 years for some species, the recruitment rate can be extremely slow. This is why illegal harvesting of adult plants can lead to extinction in the wild.
The insects like Thrips feed on the pollen in male cycad cones. When they visit female cones the pollen on their bodies is rubbed off and facilitates pollination.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:44 am 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 18116
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
Thank you, gmlsmit. :)

A couple of years ago we undertook a 25km hike through the Kaapsche Hoop mountains to see a single plant which was proclaimed a national monument. It was an awesome moment seeing such a beautiful specimen still right there where Mother Nature sew her seed.

Reports came in afterwards that from a massive clump only one single mutilated stem remained, that of a plant which was already mature at the time when Jan van Riebeek landed in the Cape of Good Hope. The stems were hacked off and airlifted back to civilization.

The plant grew on privately owned land and the farmer constructed a steel cage around it to try and salvage what remained.

Humans are ruthless when money becomes involved. :evil: :evil:

_________________
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:43 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:45 am
Posts: 25
Hi Duke,

I am also a Cycad fanatic!! Must be one of the most beautiful plants in the world!!

Would you perhaps be so kind as to list the Top 5 most endangered species in that order? There seems to be many personal opinions on this. I know number one ofcourse but the ones to follow seems to be a little unclear as some goes by R/cm and others by personal opinion.

Ofcourse anybody is free to give their own "top 5" list! Please note that I am not being disrespectfull by calling them the "Top 5". Just a way of categorizing them. Very sad to hear about the one in Kaapse Hoop!!

Thanks
Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 10:37 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:13 pm
Posts: 4688
Location: Centurion, ZA
I must make time to continue with this thread.

Yep gmlsmit and JenB - cycad poaching is a big problem too.

vanderw interesting question and difficult to list as you state we get different opinions. gmlsmit's post quote 3 as extinc in the wild of which E. woodii has been for some time and my information is E. Hirsutus and E. latifrons are the other two. So I would list those as the top three.

Would like to hear your view and see your list.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 12:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:45 am
Posts: 25
Hi,

I would love it if you can conitnue with this thread. Maybe we can get some more guys on board.

I am really no expert. My knowledge is not nearly where I want it to be but hopefully I make up for that with my enthusiasm. I would propably go:

Woodii
Brevifoliolatus
Hirsustus
Latifrons
Heenanii
Dolomiticus


Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 1:08 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:13 pm
Posts: 4688
Location: Centurion, ZA
Thank you for the list vanderw and not an expert either :wink: but love cycads and makes me mad :evil: at what is happening.

Glad you and gmlsmit bumped this :thumbs_up:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 9:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:45 am
Posts: 25
Hi Duke,

I know some of the parks still have some populations however I am not sure about KNP. I would be surprised if there are any but would you be able to confirm? Please, no locations of course!!

Chris


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 9:41 am 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 18116
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
Chris, I don't think Kruger has any suitable habitat for cycads (might be wrong :wink: ) but there are a few in Marakele and also in Addo that I'm aware of.

See this thread for some pics of cycads still in Nature's garden. :)
Cycads in the wild

_________________
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 10:06 am 
Offline
Forum Assistant
Forum Assistant
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:49 am
Posts: 5902
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park
FAC Member (2012)
I watched a programme about this on one of the documentary channels, it was very interesting and revealing.
Such a shame............as said before where money is concerned anything goes. :twisted:

_________________
Thinking of Africa every day.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: South African Cycads
Unread postPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:13 pm
Posts: 4688
Location: Centurion, ZA
Encephalartos aemulans

This is an extremely rare South African cycad whose habitat is limited to a single mountain in the Natal Province. Its name derives from the Latin meaning "equaling," because its pollen and seed cones look similar.

This picture coutesy of the SA Cycad Society

Image

This is a very rare plant, it requires moderate watering, has green leaves, a tall stem and grows in full sun

These plants grow to 10 feet tall, with trunks up to 1½ feet in diameter -- with suckers growing from its base. Mature leaves are dark green, glossy, and 3-6 feet in length. They thrive in subtropical and warm temperate regions, and tolerate light frosts. Like all cycads, they make great conservatory specimens. These are seed-grown plants.

A seedling I have in my garden - the plant in front

Image


This species has long been collected before being described and can be found in private collections. Plants have even been collected from the type locality after description and for that reason information about locality is kept secret to protect the plants. While one population seems to do well and seedling regeneration is taking place, total numbers are very low and this species needs protection against depletion to ensure the survival of mature reproducing plants in the wild.

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List.Dec 2009


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Lukej at 21:03:07 Submitted by RonelMentz at 21:58:10 Submitted by sarafl at 20:21:57 Submitted by RonelMentz at 22:07:10