CYCADS OF SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa has been recognised as one of the global hotspots for cycad diversity. South Africa has 38 cycad species (37 species of Encephalartos and one species of Strangeria). Cycads, which date back 280 million years, they have a trunk, leaves and cones, all of which are covered with stiff, sharp spines. Cycads will either be male or female in gender and when they are in a reproductive condition they bear large cones.

Unfortunately this unique, ancient plant has fallen victim to poaching at frightening levels. Of South Africa’s 38 cycad species, 3 are extinct in the wild, 12 are critically endangered, 4 are endangered, 9 are vulnerable and 7 are near threatened. The BIGGEST threat facing cycads is poaching plants from the wild to supply domestic and international trade, often the poached cycads are damaged beyond repair and die, resulting in more cycads being poached to satisfy demand.

In South Africa, the indigenous Encephalartos cycad species is protected under provincial legislation and/or the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004. Very importantly various permits (issued in terms of the Threatened or Protected Specie’s Regulations and/or provincial legislation) are needed for activities related to cycads, including but not limited to having cycads in your possession, breeding cycads, moving cycads, buying or selling cycads or picking parts of a cycad. Don’t break the law, ensure you have all necessary permits!


REPORT ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY OR ANY SUSPECTED ILLEGAL TRADE IN CYCADS TO 0800205005