Encephalartos species
Encephalartos princeps, South Africa

Encephalartos princeps, South Africa

A gymnosperm (seed not encased in fruit), Encephalartos is a cycad native to Africa, the largest genus in family Zamiaceae, comprising over 60 species, all of which are endangered, having been exploited by collectors and practitioners of traditional medicine. A bread-like starchy food has been prepared from the stem, and the pith around the seeds, and the seeds themselves, are eaten by animals. Most species of Encephalartos are endemic to small areas, and because of their popularity, many already uncommon species have been collected to near extinction.

The photos on this page are from the University of California Botanical Garden in Berkeley. Most of the Encephalartos I've seen are about three to six feet tall, and the female cones are conspicuously large.​

Encephalartos trispinosus, Eastern Cape Province,

South Africa, with female seed cones. More information here

Encephalartos arenarius, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley

Encephalartos arenarius

Encephalartos natalensis (South Africa)

Encephalartos horridus