Oldest Pot Plant 'In The World' Repotted
The oldest pot plant in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which is believed to be the oldest in the world, has been re-potted.
7:00AM BST 30 Jul 2009
The huge Jurassic cycad, Encephalartos altensteninii (i), was collected by Kew's first plant hunter Francis Masson, from the Eastern Cape region of South
Africa in the early 1770s.
Masson was commissioned by president of the Royal Society Sir Joseph Banks to step aboard the Resolution and join Captain Cook's second voyage around the
The ancient plant, known as the 'Eastern Cape giant cycad' arrived in Kew Gardens in 1775, and has been in the Palm House since it was built in 1848.
This cycad was one of the first living collections to arrive at Kew.
Growing at an average rate only 2.5cm a year, the trunk has slowly grown to its current 4 metres 40 centimetres. It is supported by metal stilts to ensure
the health of thefragile, one-tonne plant. Now brimming from its pot, and in need of fresh compost, it is the first time Kew's gardeners will re-pot the
The operation has taken three months to plan and Wes Shaw, Keeper of the Palm House, said beforehand: "Cycads are fascinating prehistoric plants, and this
one is one of the most unique plants in Kew Gardens.
"It's the don of the Palm House, and has been slowly growing year by year since the Gardens began.
"As Kew celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, it's a fitting time to re-pot this gem, to ensure that it remains healthy for future generations to
enjoy. It will be an exciting and nerve-racking moment, but I'm glad to have a strong team of Kew gardeners around me, and we'll be thrilled to see it