The Karoo cycad is endemic to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Cycads are the oldest seed producing plants and according to fossil records predate dinosaurs. The few emaining wild populations of Encephalartos lehmannii are threatened by habitat destruction and unsustainable collection of plants for both horticultural and traditional medicinal uses. Conservation of plant material in botanical gardens and seed banks, controlling trade in cycads and protection of wild populations and habitat are being undertaken worldwide.
Photo: Rhoda McMaster