1. brett says

    Poor tree. I wonder if they could clone it, so that it could continue on in case the existing one dies without them ever finding a potential mate tree for it.

  2. marko says

    @brett It sounds like the one in the Kew gardens is a clone from the cutting taken by John Medley Wood, so presumably they could?

  3. unclefrogy says

    I had to check because plants that get into botanic gardens are propagated found this

    Common Name: Wood’s Cycad. Honoring Medley Wood, curator of the Durban Botanic gardens, who discovered this species. Described in 1908 by English horticulturist — Sander, from a single male plant found in the Ngoya Forest by Wood. This plant had several stems and offsets, all of which were removed from the wild and taken into cultivation over the decade following its discovery. No other plants have been discovered, and this species is consequently extinct in the wild and survives only in cultivation as propagations from the original discovery.
    uncle frogy

  4. blf says

    Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge flat-out states all known specimens are type clones: “It is one of the rarest plants in the world, being extinct in the wild with all specimens being clones of the type.” Kew Gardens essentially agrees: “There are now around 500 individual male plants propagated from the original and growing in botanic gardens and private collections around the world.” It goes on to say:

    Although the area in which the original Wood’s cycad was discovered is well explored, it is yet to be thoroughly surveyed. Consequently, there is still hope that a female plant will eventually be found, and that could reproduce with the growing population of male clones in cultivation. Alternatively, there is a remote possibility that one of the plants in cultivation will undergo a spontaneous sex change, as has been documented in a few cases in other cycad species. […]


    The rarity of these cycads is part of their appeal to a network of smugglers and thieves, who try to evade restrictions placed on plant movements by the CITES treaty. The other is a network of willing and obsessive buyers who grow their collections in secrecy to avoid having their own illegal plants removed. Enormous sums of money change hands, and because of the rarity of the species and their colourful history, offsets can sell for as much as $20,000 each.

    It is therefore not surprising that theft is a serious problem. It is so serious that the San Diego Police Department in southern California assigned an officer to ‘cycad beat’ to monitor these precious plants. […]

  5. quotetheunquote says

    ‘Oh, no!’ said Treebeard. ‘None have died from inside, as you might say. Some have fallen in the evil chances of the long years, of course: and more have grown tree-ish. But there were never many of us and we have not increased. There have been no Entings – no children, you would say, not for a terrible long count of years. You see, we lost the Entwives.’

    ‘How very sad!’ said Pippin. ‘How was it that they all died?’