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Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi

   (Family: Zamiaceae)
English: White-haired Cycad  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 4m
Special properties:
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred altitude: 700 - 1400m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Biome: Grassland
Flowering time EDIT
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
  Wind, Insects, weevil
  Leaf info EDIT
  The crown of the stem is covered with loose, brown wool, with the leaves held open at an angle of 45 degrees to the stem. The young leaves are soft and light bluish-green, but with age take on a more yellowish colour. Its leaves grow to 3-4 feet long. Leaflets grow to 4 inches long, closely spaced with pointed tips.
  Seed info EDIT
  No other species in the genus bears as many cones as the white-haired cycad, with the male plant able to produce as many as twelve cones, and the female plant up to six.
Description EDIT
An attractive, stout stemmed species, the white-haired cycad may branch from the base, or alternatively produce just a single stem. Despite their woody appearance, like all cycads, the stems are mainly comprised of soft, pithy storage tissue protected by a hard layer of old leaf bases.
As the stems grow in height, they tend to lean over to settle on the ground, with just the crown curving upwards.
Growing EDIT
Cycads are long-lived, slow growing plants that always occur as individual male or female plants.
There is no way of determining the sex of a cycad until it begins to produce its first cone.

The seeds produced by cycads are large and have a fleshy outer coat, but are relatively short-lived and vulnerable to desiccation. The fleshy outer layer is desirable to a range of animals such as birds, rodents and bats, depending on the species of cycad and region it occupies.

The seed is sown in the spring on a bed of clean, coarse sand which has bottom heat of 25-28ยบ C. This species is slow to germinate and can take up to a year before all of the seed has germinated. The radicle develops first followed by the leaves and within 10 months the seedlings are removed and potted into a 3 litre plastic sleeve containing a well-drained growing medium. The seedlings are watered sparingly until the first signs of growth appear.

Adapts well to different climates, if there is sufficient sun. Once established, it grows vigorously, cultivates easily and can develop a robust 10-20 inch diameter caudex over time.

Adult plants of Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi can develop multiple stems suckers freely from its base.
Propagation by division involves removing well-developed suckers of approximately 250 mm diameter from the mother plant. Early spring is an ideal time when all leaves are removed from the sucker which is then carefully eased away from the main stem. The sucker needs to be left to dry off the wound before planting in clean sand which encourages root development. Once well rooted, the sucker can be planted out in the open ground.
Distribution EDIT
This species occurs in the Eastern Cape province and KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The main distribution area is in the Cathcart and Queenstown districts. Smaller subpopulations occur to the north of Umtata and in the vicinity of Kokstad on the border between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Occurs from 700 up to 1,400 m.

The white-haired cycad is found in grassland and open shrubland on rocky ridges.

This species occurs in montane grassland and open shrubland on rocky ridges.
History EDIT
Does well as a container plant or grown as a feature garden plant, particularly if surrounded by low-growing succulents.
Ecology EDIT
Although widespread and relatively abundant, populations have declined in the past 90 years. Based on repeat photographs, this is estimated to be as high as 20%. If decline increases, it could qualify for a Vulnerable listing under criterion A2.

This species is threatened due to over-collecting for ornamental purposes and as a result of traditional muthi (medicine) harvesting.

The primary pollinator of the white-haired cycad is a weevil that occurs on no other species.
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