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Discover Our World: Cycads

DID YOU KNOW: The Amatole region of the Eastern Cape is the only place in the world where three species of cycads grow in vast natural colonies, in close proximity to each other.

They are the white-haired cycad (E. friderici-guilielmi), the Kei cycad (E. princeps) and the Rhini cycad (E. caffra).

One of the most attractive cycad species, the white-haired cycad typically measures about 50cm in diameter and can grow to a height of 4m. At this height, the stem tends to lean and eventually settles flat on the ground with the grown curved upwards.

The Kei cycad is a lovely blue-leaved cycad with about 10-15 aerial, erect stems that form a cluster, though the stems may sometimes recline or lie flat on the ground. The stems may develop to a height of up to 5m and a diameter of 300-400 mm. The leaves are 120-200 mm long, straight but curving downwards at the apex.

A relatively rare dwarf cycad, the Rhini cycad is a single-stem cycad with a woolly crown which rarely grows higher than 1.2m. Its leaves are light green and are initially very woolly on a straight leaf stalk.

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