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 Post subject: Cycads in the wild
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:24 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
I am wondering whether there are other forumites interested in cycads? I have searched this website and cannot find any postings. It would be a great opportunity for anyone going on walks or any secluded areas to photograph these rare and endangered plants in their natural environment - or what is left of it.

Just an extract from a website about it:
"The last, exceptionally large, surviving cycad specimen of the Mariepskop variety of Encephalartos laevofolius has been hacked apart in a fouled poaching attempt last week. This population is now almost extinct in the wild. Several more plants of the small cycad population were decimated, hacked or uprooted. It is believed a joint operation between the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, the local police and the Air Force Base in Hoedspruit interrupted the attempted robbery." Read the story
Here
Image

There is a great need for these plants to be protected because most of the few plants still battling for survival in the wild can be thousands of years old.

Some pic's we were lucky enough to get (Oribi gorge)
I think it is most probably Encephalartos natalensis but these photos were taken at great distance and I'm no fundi!
Image Image
I'm also very interested to know if anyone has some nice species in their gardens? (Permitted plants only, please!)

Just wondering - any more "passionates" out there?

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:18 pm 
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Hi Jenb!

I am fascinated by cycads, but have only seen (and photographed) them at Kirstenbosch. Since I live in the USA, my opportunities are a bit limited :wink: I think I've also seen a giant cycad in a hothouse at Kew Gardens in London. And aren't there a lot of them at the "establishment" of the rain queen in Limpopo — or is that just theme park hype?


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:33 pm 
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Location: Mkuze, KZN
I am lucky enough to see lebomboensis in the wild on a regular basis

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:31 pm 
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Hi Arks and Jeanus,
You must be referring to Modjadji kraal where Encephalartos transvenosus or Modjadji palm, as commonly, known grows quite freely (just because they are being watched! 8) ) The tribe of the Rain queen used to make bread from the core of the stems and from there the Afrikaans name Brood boom (Bread tree). We went on a 25km walk a while back to see one plant, Encephalartos lanatus, which has been proclaimed as a national monument - it is huge! (I will try to scan some photos to post).

Most of the plants remaining in the wild are the real Granddaddies but unfortunately, that's all we have left! They only still occur in very remote and difficult terrain and their localities are being kept a secret. Still they are being plundered. It's a pity that these plants have to be removed from the wild to be replanted at places like Kirstenbosch for their own safety. Driving through the more affluent suburbs of the cities you will see large, very rare plants in gardens. I have to admit, I also have a few very rare species in my garden but they are all permitted and I have had some for about 30 years now.

This is a photo of Encephalartos villosus taken in Natal. (Still in Natures garden).
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Modjadji behind and the other one is laevifolius.
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Jeanus, please post some photos for us to see? That is very special! You are so privileged!

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:31 pm 
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It is so sad that people seems to think they are entitled to steel anything that is not bolted down and guarded!

Though cycads are beautiful in a garden, I always have a tinge of regret when I see one in a garden. It just reminds me how few are left where they are supposed to be!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:00 pm 
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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?

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:09 pm 
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I don't think it is possible? :huh:

Risk of placing in the wrong site, introducing diseases etc.?

Maybe I am wrong?

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:17 am 
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DinkyBird wrote:
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?


Hi DB,

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.

Quote:

"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."

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 Post subject: Cycads in the wild
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:02 pm 
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Hi Jenb
I was browsing the forum and came across this thread which caught my beady eye.
I think it is shameful that unscrupulous dealers / collecters / thieves steal these wonderful "dinosaurs" from their natural habitat, thus making our natural heritage so much poorer in the process.
I have had a small collection of about 17 cycads (13 different species) for up to 20 years (some plants newer than others) and i have to admit that they are the most amazing and rewarding plants i have ever come across.
Some of mine are permitted, but i have to do the rest - hopefully it will go quite smoothly as the sellers are still traceable. Five or six of my plants are adult and regularly come into cone. Probably of most importance is a male Lanatus which finished coning for the 1st time a couple of months ago.
Should you be interested, we could arrange to swop pollen & other info when appropriate. In fact, i have a plant coning now for the first time - still early in the process so can't be certain of gender - so will make sure of it's species & let you know should you be interested.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:52 pm 
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Hi Scorpy,

Absolutely interested! :D :thumbs_up:

I fully agree with you, they just are such amazing plants!

Just an update: I have 326 seeds from the Msinganus and expect that at least 280 to be pollinated. It is quite a long but simple and very rewarding task to grow them from seed. I would gladly give you some tips if you would like to try. Also bear in mind, you can freeze the pollen for anything up to 5 years or even longer, so you might consider doing that encase you happen to come across a female.

You are very luck to have a Lanatus thats old enough to cone, they are very rare! :D

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 Post subject: Cycads in the wild
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:30 pm 
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Hi again Jenb (& the others)
My 2 Lanatus plants are my favourites together with a lovely Lehmanii. I was fortunate that a colleague visited a friend of hers and noticed these 2 bedraggled and lice ridden Lanatus plants in bags at the bottom of his garden. She brokered the deal & i walked away with these small plants for R50 each about 17 years ago. Now i wouldn't accept R1,500 each...they are very pretty plants.
SO & i recently went to KNP and while in the Lowveld went to Nelspruit Botanical Gardens. It is the best i have ever seen (but saw Kirstenbosh when i was a kid about 40 years ago so don't remember it much) and they have a wonderful cycad garden with hundreds of mature plants over a massive area. I took lots of pics which i can post if you wish (not 2nite tho - i have a meeting to attend)
I at one time did make enquiries re swopping pollen & seed, but i think i was over optimistic as to when my plants would mature. I think that the time is now right.


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 Post subject: Cycads in the wild
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:24 am 
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Hi

I am just testing my (non-existent) skills at posting pics. Please don't laugh. :shock:

This was taken at Nelspruit Botanical Gardens about 2 weeks ago. I have some more to show if anyone is interested.

Image


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:31 am 
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Nice!! :D
Yes....more please!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:01 am 
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Unfortunately :redface: i didn't take note of which plants i was photographing so most of the other pics could be one of 2 or 3 species

Image

Image

These are unmistakably Lanatus plants.
Image

Image

There are 3 or 4 other decent pics which i will post later on. Til then, have a great day !!!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Hi All!,
I've just had great news! We will be going on a guided tour in Marakele on the 26th of May to see the elusive Eugene-maraisii in nature - in a SANParks nogal! :dance:
We will be spending 4 days there and I will post photos of the plants for all to see.

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