Cycads

Encephalartos tegulaneus over the hillside of Ol Olokwe table mountain, central Kenya

      

Cycads - the order Cycadales - dominated the Earth among plants in the second half of the Mesozoic era among 250 million and 60 million years ago.  In contrast to dinosaurs, who disappeared abruptly towards the end of mesozoic era, the more tenacious cycads, though in a much reduced  number of species, have survived to the present day. All cycads are gymnosperm dioecious plants. Cycads are divided into 4 families and at present they can be found in the wild mostly in tropical regions in Africa, the Comores,  Madagascar and Mauritius, India, South East Asi and Australia, South, Central and North America and West Indies.

 

The plants are protected by difficult access to population.

Detail

 

It was recognised as a new  species based on collection, photos and paintings by Joy Adamson, of "Born free" fame.

 

E. tegulaneus female cones

 

Male cones

 

One year old seedling

 

A young plant, protected by its growth position among the boulders


E. transvenosus, sacred Mudjadli Forest, Limpopo, South Africa

 


Rock Python, the biggest snake of Africa, among E. transvenosus plants


E. transvenosus female cones


Encephalartos altensteinii, near to  Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Encephalartos princeps on the Kei River banks, Eastern Cape, South Africa


Stangeria eriopus, Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, Kwazulu - Natal, South Africa.

 

Stangeria eriopus, Natal grass cycad, the only member of the Stangeriaceae family. The plant was originally described  as  a  fern. However in 1951, a plant sent to Kew Gardens by dr. Stanger produced cones and revealed its true cycad character. It differs from other cycads by its peculiar appearance and biochemical composition, for example the absence of bioflavonoids in leaves.

 

Encephalartos ghellinckii, Drakensberg, Natal, South Africa. One of few cycad species surviving regular snow cover and frosts.

 


Cycas thouarsii with 240 cm stem diameter, Mauritius.

 

The distributin of this species outside Madagascar is caused by its floating seeds or by Arab trading in the past.


Lepidozamia peroffskyana, New South Walles, Australia


 
Cycas media with partly burnt stem caused by regular grass-fires in Queensland, Australia


Cycas media, procumbent charred stem regenerating by new crowns


Cycas media, mature seeds

 

Bowenia spectabilis, Queensland, Australia


Lepidozamia hopei, the world´s biggest  cycad, Queensland, Australia

 

Leaf detail

 

Coralloid roots

Halong Bay, Viet Nam


Cycad species, Halong Bay, Vietnam


Detail


Cycas bifida, Guanxi, China


Double - divided C. bifida leaflets


C. bifida, young leaf

Male cone, C. bifida


Inmature female cone, C. bifida


Detail


C. bifida mature seeds


Cycas debaoensis, Debao, China


Cycas micholitzii on a steep slope, Kon Tum, Vietnam

 

"Without doubt, Cycas micholitzii is one of the most distinctive and beautiful species of the genus. The nearly subterranean stem usually produces only one to three leaves, but beauty of these leaves is hard to imagine...."  Loran M. Whitelock, The Cycads,  p. 126.

 


C. micholitzii, male and inmature female cones


C. micholitzii female cone detail


C. micholitzii mature seeds

Rare C. micholitzii seedlings in culture


Cycas pectinata growing on a carstic wall above the Nam Song river, Vang Vieng, Laos

Cycas pectinata, a leaf.

The Greater Antilles - home of the famous Microcycas calocoma and the genus Zamia

 

 

 

Reddish young leaf color of some Zamia species in contrast with intensiv green of adult leaves

 

Ripening female cone, Zamia spec. Barracoa

 

 

Male cones, Zamia tenuifolia

Ripe Zamia tenuifolia male cones, detai

 

 

 Z. tenuifolia female cone with ripening seeds

 

 

The Lesser Antilles - a richness of endemic flora including Zamia species