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E. laurentianus

E.Laurentianus. Endemic to Northern Angola and SW Zaire this very large cycad is the most robust of all species in the genus with massive long stems reaching up to 15m in length and 1m in diameter. This giant cycad can be found growing in open sunny positions, typically occurring in deep shade of evergreen forests along river banks, often forming large and dense colonies. The climate is tropical with hot humid summers and mild dry winters. The 4 to 6m straight or gently curving leaves, have a more or less triangular rachis with a very thick base to support the enormous leaves which are leathery and rigid, dark green with a pale green undersurface, 35 to 50cm in length and 4 to 7cm in width, are heavily toothed sometimes 9 to 15 teeth on each margin. The leaflets reduce in size gradually to the base of the rachis, ending in a series of 3 to 4 pairs of prickles and a similar number of thorns. Female cones are oblong, 35 to 45cm long and 20 to 25cm in diameter, when young are greenish yellow turning ochre yellow at maturity, the seeds are bright red. This monster of a plant needs careful planting planning in cultivation as it is a rather quickly and fast grower, enjoys mulches and watering in dry periods but does not tolerate frost.

Example of an adult Laurentianus

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