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A picture of a Wood's Cycad

Wood's Cycad

Encephalartos woodii

Also known as

Broodboom (Afr.), Wood-Se-Broodboom

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

8a-11b

USDA zone

-12°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

6m

Max

3m

3m

Min

2m

More images

A photo of Wood's Cycad
A photo of Wood's Cycad
A photo of Wood's Cycad
A photo of Wood's Cycad

Overview

Encephalartos woodii is a cycad famous for being extinct in nature, and for the fact that there is no known female specimen on Earth. Wood's Cycad is a handsome plant, with dark, glossy green leaves growing up to 2-3 m long, with a gracefully arching shape, creating a dense umbrella-shaped crown. Reaches up to 6m in height with a trunk diameter of up to 90 cm at the base, 60cm near the crown. The 100+ year old specimens at Durban Botanic Gardens trunk circumference exceeds 2 m and has an estimated mass of 2,5 tons. A characteristic that is unique to Encephalartos woodii is that in mature specimens the trunk broadens towards the base to support the weight of the trunk. Furthermore, towards the base of the trunk the leaf bases are so compressed by the weight it supports that the trunk is unusually smooth. Encephalartos woodii produces six to eight large, barrel-shaped, bright orange-yellow cones. These cones occasionally reach a length of 1,2 m, with a diameter of 15 - 20 cm. Cones are formed on the Kirstenbosch specimen every 2-3 years. Thunberg and other early travellers recorded that the local tribes used cycad trunks as a source of food. This is a common feature plant. ZA Distribution: KwaZulu-Natal.

Common problems

Few

    Harvesting

    Suckers are best removed in early spring, with a clean sharp spade or a knife. They should be larger than 10 cm in diameter, the larger the sucker the better its chance of survival away from the parent.

    Propagation

    Division

    Remove suckers forming at the base or on the stem when they are well developed.

    Seed

    There is no female plants, seed is out of the question.

    Special Features

    Indoor plant

    Drought resistant

    Pot plant

    Uses

    Thunberg and other early travellers recorded that the local tribes used cycad trunks as a source of food

    Edible

    Monkeys love the fruit. The Afrikaans name 'Broodboom' came from the traditional use of the pith as bread - note that Cycads is toxic and it needs a 3 month fermentation process to break down those toxins!