Encephalartos Trispinosus


Size: 8cm



Encephalartos Trispinosus


Locality:  Native to the Easter Cape region of South Africa, this is a small to medium sized cycad from regions dominated by dry costal scrub to low lying flat lands which have very little precipitation.  Often they are found in rocky terrain or cliffs paired with Aloes and native brush.

Plant Size:  This cycad is of diminutive size, rarely exceeding a meter.  Leaves are of comparable size, giving an overall height of two meters on large mature specimens.

Other Characteristics:  There are many fascinating characteristics about this plant.  Primarily, it is one of the most variable Encephalartos there are.  For many decades, taxonomists had difficulty describing this species because of their extreme phenotypic variability. Generally this is a “blue” cycad (which is more of a white color than blue), though they can be green as well!  They also tend to be spiny, with three prominent spines, which is where the name comes from “tri-” (three) and “spinosus” (spines).  This trait is also variable as some are “spineless” possessing only one spines at the tip of the leaf, where others are more spiny.  Female cones are a greyish-green color and male cone are a pale to bright yellow color. 

Culture:  Along the coast this species tolerates full sun or part day sun.  It easily withstands a freeze and has an absolute cold tolerance down to about 20-22 degrees F.  It prefers good draining soil – and should be mounded if your soil is heavy or clay.  It can easily be grown on the patio if given adequate light.  Desert areas in California can grow this species in sun, but areas like Arizona should grow them under protection/filtered light.

Landscape Usage:  This species should be showcased as it has beautiful color and often have striking leaf shape.  I would recommend planting these where you can control the water, which doesn’t inherently exclude tropical landscapes (you just need to plan as regards protection from water).  I would plant this species in the foreground so it can be adequately appreciated, but far enough from a walkway so as not to get poked.

Availability:  We typically can offer sizes from seedlings or small plants up to coning sized specimens.  At any given time we should have at least a hundred of this species available.  The sizes from bands up to 15g can be easily mail ordered.  Larger plants can be delivered by truck.

Encephalartos trispinosus is a rare South African species.  Blue cycads tend to be more expensive than green varieties, but this species is somewhat affordable.


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