Encephalartos horridus

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One of the strangest plants I’ve ever seen is Encephalartos horridus. It really was an opposite of the flora I admired in the glasshouse of Florence botanical garden .Which of course does not mean it is not to be admired. Perhaps even more, as it belongs among cycads, one of the real archeo-biological divisions, originating back in Jurassic period.Which fascinates me the most, is the fact, that looking at this plant one gets so many years back in evolution ,becoming a witness of past times.The very next thing coming up to my mind at that point is, how possibly looked all the others , by now extinct , plants from that time? Certainly a good reason not to let this one vanish in next years!

Cycads belong to the biological division Cycadophyta. The three extant families of cycads are CycadaceaeStangeriaceae, and Zamiaceae. Though they are a minor component of theplant kingdom today, during the Jurassic period, they were extremely common. They have changed little since the Jurassic, compared to some major evolutionary changes in other plant divisions.from:

This cycad is listed as an endangered species by the 2003 IUCN Red List,[1] a change from its vulnerable listing in the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.[4] Historically it was over-collected in the wild but widespread availability in commercial nurseries has reduced some of this pressure.[2]

Eastern Cape Blue Cycad
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Cycadophyta
Class: Cycadopsida
Order: Cycadales
Family: Zamiaceae
Genus: Encephalartos
Species: E. horridus
Binomial name
Encephalartos horridus (Jacq.Lehm. from:

By Tamara Jare

Slovenian figurative painter. Love colors and light.

6 replies on “Encephalartos horridus”

Actually not-Greek meaning is ”bread-arthos- in the head-cephale”, which refers to the fact that some old tribes used stem pith of these plants to bake bread.
Then horridus is , as you said , horrible.


I love it. I always imagine dinos eating cycads. We have them in S. Florida (cycads, not dinosaurs) as ornamentals and I don’t think most people appreciate their ancient lineage.


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