Cycads in the wild

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JenB
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Re: Cycads in the wild

Unread post by JenB »

About 10 years ago we went on a hike to see a plant near Middelburg which was declared as a National monument.
It was a majestic plant! Ren (my couz) went back there a few months ago and of the previous (about 6 stems) only one remain. They have now built a steel cage around it to try and protect the last bit.
The hillsides were literally strewn with plants, enormous ones.
According to the farmer, they were all removed by helicopter.
On the way there, we sat down in a valley where the seedlings were so plentiful, it looked like ferns!
You could barely walk without stepping on it - all gone. :( These plants are far more endangered than any animal but people just don't care.
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JenB
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Re: Cycads in the wild

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I am involved in the development of upper market homes and have seen landscaping contractors replanting stems of more than 3m in length.
They are being sold to clients "including permits" (yes, I question!). I am particularly thinking about a Eugene-maraisii. The foliage was in front of a first floor window which makes the stem at least 3.5m high. I estimate that plant to be at least 350 years old.

Now I ask you: How on earth is it possible for a plant, that has been around since the days that Jan van Riebeeck set foot on dry land at Table bay, to be permitted??!! Most of these plants do not find their way to local gardens, they are for the export market and once out of the country, no questions asked.
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Re: Cycads in the wild

Unread post by Duke Ellieton »

I have visited this topic for the first time today and it is good to know there are fellow cycad lovers out there (pity not much more cycads out there).

JenB I think plants collected pre-legislation days went through a sort of amnesty and legislation is against collecting cycads from the wild today - not that this legislation is much of a deterrence.

It is really sad to see how this beautiful plants are being destroyed especially the E. middleburgensis you mentioned and also the E. eugene maraisii.

I guess part of the problem is how much these plants could fetch and the unscrupulous collectors who will pay for them.
A mature middleburgensis could fetch about R180000.00 or more.
There is a market for them, just like elephant tusks and *** horn and the legislation is inadequate.
I think it was Chief Seattle who said that when mankind has destroyed everything around him he will disvover how lonely he is (or words to that effect)

For those who do not know Southern Africa has 40 cycad species (39 from the genus Encephalartos and 1 from genus Stangeria) and there are about 300 species globally.

2 of our species, Encephalartos woodii and Encephalrtos relictus are already extinct in the wild and many are critically endangered. The big danger to the survival of these plants are wild collected plants and habitat destruction.
As JenB has said nobody cares about plants making there way overseas through the illegal trade.

If you are in the Gauteng area and interested than good places to see these beautiful plants are the Walter Sisulu gardens and the National botanical gardens in Tshwane.
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Re: Cycads in the wild

Unread post by Scorpy »

Jen, what you wrote above is not even sick - it is downright sordid & criminal :!: :!: :!:

I think the major problem here is that there is NO deterrent in force that makes sense. Take for example, the plant you spoke of would cost in excess of R25,000 (probably much more - i am not up with high-end cycad prices). Should someone be prosecuted for illegal trading, the fine would be no more than R2,000. What then, has the law got that says to everyone "do NOT poach or trade in illegal cycads. If you do, you will get burnt" ? I would say a reasonable fine would be 3 or 4 times the market value of the plant, payable in cash, or alternatively a jail sentence - that should get a message across to the poacher / criminal elements that are doing this damage.

However, i wouldn't hold out much hope of this happening - there seem to be elements in this country that are hell-bent on environmental destruction under the guise of "progress". Take for example - the recently approved mining scheme along a pristine 20km stretch of WildCoast dunes (to an Australian company, nogal!!!). If one can't visualise the effect that this will have, go and have a look at what has happened with the rehabilitation of the mining operations in the Richards Bay area.

'Nuff said !!!
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JenB
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Re: Cycads in the wild

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Sharifa wrote:JenB I think plants collected pre-legislation days went through a sort of amnesty and legislation is against collecting cycads from the wild today - not that this legislation is much of a deterrence.

True, I'm speaking under correction but legislation has been in place for a good number of years. When amnesty was granted, cycads were not the common garden specimens as they are today but the illegal trade has skyrocketed since then. I'm sure that illegal traders claim all of these plants to be from pre-legislation days but it is not possible. What concerns me is the fact that the plants removed from the wild today are being permitted and I cannot see how it is legally done. I can't help thinking that there seem to be easy ways of obtain permits.

All the cycad species in South Africa are under tremendous threat. The ones inside the National parks do stand some chance of survival but unfortunately the rest are mostly on privately owned land where the is no or little infrastructure for their protection. Those plants are sitting ducks so to speak. I fully agree, the punishment certainly do not fit the crime!
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Re: Cycads in the wild

Unread post by JenB »

Hidee Scorpy,
The seeds are looking good but it a slow process. Unfortunately more and more of them seem to be floating belly up. :whistle:

Hi Leopard-cub, welcome to the forum! :D So, you are another self committed cycad lover? :clap:
Good luck with the Lebombo seeds. :thumbs_up: My SO does have a theory on getting plants to shoot but he'll have to tell you himself! :twisted: :lol:

I'm always scanning for cycads in KNP but until now I've not been able to find any, I'll do a bit of asking around. :wink: Whatcha know, YOU might see the first one. :whistle:

(KNP..... March? Are you planning to be at the cricket?? :twisted: )
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Re: Cycads in the wild

Unread post by Scorpy »

Hi Jen
So sorry to hear that your seeds aren't as prolific as you expected / hoped. I guess this is the way of nature. Yes, cycads do test one's patience to the limit, but the rewards are really great.
I am hoping that all this rain will induce a few of my favourite plants to push cones (ie. Lehamnii, Lanatus (i have 2 - one is a male))

I would love to hear your SO's theory :hmz:


Hi LC
Glad to make your acquaintance. The more of us here, the merrier. :thumbs_up:
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

Unread post by JenB »

The seed cone.
If they are pollinated, you can cultivate the seeds.
It's a very long process but very rewarding in the end. Natural pollination is rare these days because you need the male and female plants quite close to one another for wind pollination to take place and because of poaching there are very few left to multiply naturally.
If you can get your hands on some pollen, it's quite easy to pollinate by carefully removing one of the seeds at the top of the stem and injecting a mixture of distilled water and pollen into the cone when it's ripe(there is a little hole left where the seed was removed).
After pollination, the seed will fit perfectly back in it's place and all you do is sit and wait for the seeds to drop.

That's just the start! :twisted:
The fleshy bits around the seeds have to be removed and then put them in water.
The floating seeds can be tossed, they are not fertile.
Repeat the water test again after 3 months and again after 6.
By this time you'll be left with about one third of the seeds with which you started.
Then you put them on sandy soil in a warm place, keep them damp and they will sprout a single root within the next year or so.
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

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They are the last bit of true prehistorical plants on the planet.

You can also cultivate the suckers (little plants growing from the roots of the mother plant).
Care must just be taken to treat the wounds on both plants with tree sealant because insects and rot are quick to attack the soft fleshy stems.

This one in my garden, it's huge 'cause I've had it for about 35 years.
This is also an altensteinii which is one of the faster growing species.

The second stem? That is a plant in it's own right which grew from the mother stem.
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

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Just a bit more about my makeshift fence. :wink:
These plants don't only have a main root system going down, they also have very delicate roots growing up to the surface which creates a "carpet" around the plant and has a coral-like appearance. They are called coralloid roots. Care must always be taken when digging around the plant not to damage those.
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

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One more question :D

What is the difference between a cycad and a cycas?
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

Unread post by gmlsmit »

Cycads occur in temperate and tropical regions of both and southern hemisphere in Central America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

All belongingto the family CYCADACEAE.

Their ditribution is as per the Genus is :

Cycas: Japan, India, Thailand,Formosa, Philipines,, Okinawa, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Australia, The Comore Islands, Madagascar, East Coast of Africa and Mauritius.

Bowenia: Australia.

Lepidozomia : Australia.

Macrozamia : Australia.

Microcycas : Cuba.

Dioon : Mexico and Honduras.

Ceratozamia : Mexico and Guatamala.

Zamia : Florida, Mexico, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica, Puerto Rica, West Indies, Cayman Islands, Brazil,Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela and Peru.

Encephalartus : South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Zaire, Sudan, Nigeria, Swaziland and Angola.

The other similar family is :

Family : STANGERIACEAE.

Genus : Stangeria.

Distribution : South Africa.

The cycads have persisted to the present day but only as remnants of a great range of forms which 150 million yeras ago had an almost world-wide distribution.
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

Unread post by Yoda »

Hi,

If memory serves me correct, Cycads produce their seeds/pollen etc in tight cones.
Whereas the reproductive arrangement of Cycas is more loosely held together. (Sorry, can't remember the technical term.)

Thanks
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

Unread post by naturelover »

The genus Encephalartos actually a member of the Zamaceae family and contrary to poular belief is not actually a cycad. Regardless, some species are very rare with some even extinct in the wild.
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Re: What type of Cycad is this?

Unread post by jjohanv »

If i'm not wrong the common name for the cycad on the photo is a modjadjie the rain queen cycad http://bcb706.blogspot.com/2007/03/modj ... artos.html
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