Wood's cycad (Eng.), Broodboom (Afr.)
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.