Encephalartos arenarius (Alexandria Cycad, Dune Cycad)

Endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and illegal poaching, the Dune Cycad is a slow-growing, long-lived conifer. The fronds grow over 1 meter long with recurved, sharp leaflets.

Encephalartos arenarius (Alexandria Cycad, Dune Cycad)
Deciduous: no
Hardiness Zones: 9b-11
Height: to 2 meters (7 feet) tall
Diameter: to 3 meters (10 feet) wide
Growth Rate: slow
Age: long-lived
Root System: primarily taproot with fibrous roots
Family: Zamiaceae
Subspecies: green and blue varieties

Tolerates: fires, deer
Problems (major): Poaching and habitat loss has caused Alexandria Cycads to become endangered.
Problems (minor): scale, mealybug, gall-midge
Poisonous: The seeds are toxic to ingest; use care when handling.

Soil requirements: naturally grows in sandy soils, prefers good drainage; leaf mold, sand, or some type of compost should
cover the base
Air requirements: grow naturally in arid, dry environments
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: full sun (preferred by blue varieties) to partial shade (preferred by green cultivars)

Cones (male): to 50 centimeters tall by 15 centimeters wide, light green when mature, occur in groups of 1, 2, or 3
Cones (female): to 60 centimeters tall and 30 centimeters wide, green, ovate or barrel-shaped, cone scales upon for about
a week during April and grow to 16 by 4 centimeters long and wide
Fronds: to 1.5 meters long, leaflets very sharp, curving, lobed, the (primary division of a leaflet) “pinnae”
Seed: bright red when mature
Stem: trunk to 30 centimeters (12 inches) or more
Seeds require stratification: no, require a year to mature
Monoecious or Dioecious: dioecious

Notable characteristics:
These are easy to grow from seed or by offsets/pups. Curculionid weevils (Antliarhinus zamiae) are largely responsible for
pollination, as is the wind.

These are grown usually to help prevent their exinction. They are sometimes grown for ornamental value, although they are
very costly and illegal to own in some areas due to their conservation status.

Sources used:

Greenish-blue foliage


Very blue foliage

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that
this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.


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