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Stangeria eriopus Plants

Stangeria eriopus Plants

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Discovered in 1839, this plant was originally classified as a fern, but plants later found and sent to England by Dr. William Stanger produced cones. Realizing that a mistake had been made, the plant was renamed Stangeria in honor of Dr. Stanger.

Stangeria is native to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces in South Africa, along a narrow strip of land along the Indian Ocean coast, where it is hot and humid during the summer, and cooler with occasional frost in the drier winter. Colonies of Stangeria grow in rocky coastal grassveld and shady inland forests, surviving annual grass fires in open areas. Though somewhat frost sensitive, Stangeria grows well under cultivation, producing luxuriant growth if raised in a moist shady environment.

Stangeria produces a completely subterranean large tuberous stem and root system, with only the leaves and cones reaching above ground. As with other low-growing cycads, Stangeria has contractile roots, which pull the stem further underground as the stem grows upwards, and thus keeping the plant below ground. The stem may branch in some individuals, producing a one-plant “colony”.

A healthy plant can grow up to four new leaves in its crown per year. In the wild, these leaves vary in size depending on habitat. Grassland, plants produce tough leaves 10-12 inches long, while forest plants may have up to 6 feet long, with softer and more flexible leaflets.

Stangeria eriopus Seedlings

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Stangeria eriopus Plants