Encephalartos altensteinii Lehm.

Bread Tree

Trunk to 4 m or more tall, developing into clumps as basal suckers grow. Leaves 1-2 m long, velvety when young. Leaflets to 15 cm long, 2.5 cm wide with mostly 2-5 teeth on each margin. Cones in groups of 2-5, up to 50 cm long, yellow green, the male cones narrower than the females; seed scarlet. Cones may not appear for up to 25 years.

A species threatened in the wild where it grows naturally in low, coastal forest or on rocky hillsides; it adapts well to cool climates such as that of Melbourne. Exceptional specimens, probably more than 100 years old, may be seen at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Sydney (female) and Melbourne (male and female).

South Africa.

A sago is extracted from the trunk but considered to have detrimental properties.

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Zamiaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Cycadopsida
order     Cycadales
family      Zamiaceae
genus       Encephalartos Lindl.