Monday, May 4, 2020

Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi may be a tongue twister, but it's oh so pretty

I'm sure you're waiting with bated breath to find out what replaced the leaning Aloe globuligemma × marlothii that got moved to the naughty corner. I went through several options in my mind—another aloe, an agave, or maybe something strappy like a Strelitzia juncae—but I eventually settled on something completely different: a tongue-twisting Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi. Like most cycads, it's fairly slow growing so it will be fine in this spot for many years to come.

Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi

Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi is native to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa and loves a hot, sunny spot. In fact, the more direct sun it gets, the bluer the leaves become. Over time (decades!) it will develop a trunk, but I'm fairly sure I'll never get to experience a sight like this.

Like most cycads, Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi requires good drainage. That's not really an issue in the spot where I planted it since we created the succulent mounds with drainage in mind. Even so, I decided to plant it high and build a rock “wall” around it.


The rocks, by the way, came from Siskiyou County near the Oregon border. I collect rocks wherever I go, specifically for use in the garden. With this project done, my stash is gone—time to get more!


The top dressing is black limestone, a nice visual contrast to the California Gold used on the succulent mound itself. I'm quite happy with overall result.

NOTE ON THE SPECIES NAME: The hard-to-pronounce species name, friderici-guilielmi, is the Latinized version of the German names Friedrich Wilhelm. The epithet honors Friedrich Wilhelm III, who was the king of Prussia in 1834 when this cycad was described by German botanist Johann Georg Christian Lehmann, the founder of the Hamburg Botanical Garden. Lehmann was apparently a quarrelsome character (no surprise, he was German!), but in spite of that, he had one of the most beautiful Encephalartos species named after him, Encephalartos lehmannii.


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7 comments:

  1. It's off to a good start - unlike its predecessor, it's standing straight!

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  2. Settling on something all together different turned out to be the perfect choice. Truth be told, I may be partial to Cycads, but even objectively the new composition is wonderful.

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    1. Thank you!! I love cycads but they're oh so slow. In this case that's probably a good thing.

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  3. Fun choice! And a nice bit of Oregon...

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    1. Yep, I collected these rock on my way home from Portland a little over a year ago!

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  4. Your f-g is a beauty. I've wanted an E. lehmanii for a long while, but haven't found one yet of desirable size that is not an eye-popping price.

    Great rocks, too, nicely arranged.

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