The exotic Encephalartos ferox would look at home in a dinosaur movie, having first appeared during the Triassic period where it made
up over 20 per cent of the world’s vegetation.
However, there is a 50-year-old specimen in Wildwalk @ Bristol Botanical Gardens that has recently flowered for the first time.
Although still found in the wild along the coastal strip of Mozambique and Natal, it is a rare breed as it is very slow growing. Female plants produce a red cone while males produce taller, thinner, yellow cones once maturity is reached. The specimen at Wildwalk measures 140cm tall and two metres across. The cone now measures 33cm.
Wildwalk botanical house manager Jane Dorber Said: “ We are very proud that our cycad has started to flower. The cone has already attracted a lot of interest from visitors.
“It would be really great to find a male cycad of the same species
in cone so that we could pollinate it,” Dorber added.
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