Microcycas is a rare and endangered Cuban endemitic plant. The remaining 600 -1000 plants grow in hard to access areas and on steep cliffs of the Viñales Valley in the west of the island of Cuba.
It is one of the most ancient cycad species, which has been growing on the Earth unchanged since the Jurassic period. Thus, it is called a living fossil.
5th. June, 1989 microcycas was declared a National Nature Monument by the Cuban government.
Immature female cones
Contrary to its name, microcycas is one of the tallest cycads. The oldest giants, the age of which can be estimated at several hundred years, can reach 11 metres height and the diameter of their trunks can be 70 cm.
Lower part of an ancient Microcycas trunk with a succer. The succer just coning
Microcycas calocoma is endangered in its natural habitat mostly by forest clearance to obtain land for tobacco fields, and by disappearance of its specific beetle pollinator. Thus, the natural regeneration by seeds becomes rare.
Fresh leaves on a mature plant
A cone emerging on a young mature plant
App. two year old seedling in nature
Microcycas is forced out of its natural habitat by competition from other, more modern plants.
Microcycas squeezed by strangulating ficus, struggling for survival