Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld



Cycads add elegant focal points at lower levels, while having the ferny or palm-like foliage that is instantly associated with the tropical garden. Don't forget you can have a native tropical garden by choosing native species of cycads.


Major new addition to Mt Coot-tha gardens open

A four hectare expansion to Brisbane's Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha is complete and opening to the public. This is the largest addition to the gardens since they opened in 1970 and includes 31,000 new plants. New gardens areas represent various Queensland habitats and themes including bush foods, coastal plants and the Queensland Conservation Walk featuring more than 200 rare and endangered species. Star of the new additions is a 250 year old, 6.5m high cycad which originated near Injune in South West Queensland. Sources: Four hectare Botanic Gardens expansion opens to public, 250 year old tree forms centrepiece of gardens expansion (May 2015)

Older news at bottom of page.

More Online Information

Note that many rare or endangered cycads are protected under various forms of legislation in Australia and internationally. The following links have been provided for general information but they (and the information contained in them) are NOT necessarily complete or up-to-date. Be sure to CHECK WITH APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES yourself if you think such laws may affect you (including private individuals). If you're outside Qld (or trading with others outside Qld) check with relevant bodies governing those locations.

If you want to find out more about current laws concerning propagation, movement or trade in protected cycads in Qld, visit the Department of Environment and Resource Management website. For some factsheets to get you started, try: Contact the department for further information if you wish to engage in such activities.

Tribe of ancients University of California Berkeley News. Discusses the illegal trade in cycads and efforts to rescue confiscated specimens
Plant Diversity - The Cycads Wet Tropics Management Authority, Qld
Australian Cycads Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Macrozamia moorei at the "A View from Yallaroo" website, NSW
Propagating Burrawang Macrozania communis. Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Growing Better Cycads from Seed Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Virtual Palm Encyclopedia by Palm & Cycad Societies of Florida, Inc.
Tropical Garden Society of Sydney Includes some articles on cycads
Sorting the Names of Palms and Cycads Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database, University of Melbourne
Montgomery Botanical Center, Florida. Specialises in palms and cycads. Includes newsletter archive.
Cycad Collection The Durban Botanic Gardens
Hartman Prehistoric Garden A garden devoted to ancient plants in Zilker Botanical Gardens, Texas
Cycad pollination Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.

Theclinesthes onchya, The Australian native "Cycad Blue" butterfly
Theclinesthes onycha (Cycad blue, Onycha blue) James Cook University
Cycas ophiolitica - Observations Includes some notes on Theclinesthes onchya. Article at the Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia website
Lycaenid Butterflies and Ants Australian Museum Online

Sago Palm

Cycas revoluta, also known as the Sago "Palm", is one of the most common cycads used in landscaping. Unfortunately, the devastating cycad blue butterfly means that this species will probably disappear from Queensland landscapes. If you're interested in planting cycads in Qld, seek out typess that aren't so badly affected (if at all).
Pest Factsheet - Cycad blue butterfly Nursery and Garden Industry of Australia (PDF)
Cycad Blue Butterfly The Palm and Cycad Society of Australia Inc
Sago Palms in the Landscape University of Florida (PDF)
Cycas revoluta Trees of Miami, Florida, USA
Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) University of Arkansas
Manganese Deficiency in Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) A photograhic illustration. University of Florida NutDef Plant Nutrient Deficiency Database
Manganese Deficiency in Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) Another photograh. University of Florida NutDef Plant Nutrient Deficiency Database
Wait to prune cold damaged plants (special reference to sago palms) Mississippi State University

Cardboard Palm

Also called cardboard cycad or carboard palm (not a palm). Drought tolerant. Leaves are a grey-green colour but as it clumps up, it creates a dramatic effect, as illustrated below.

Zamia furfuracea Zamia furfuracea Zamia furfuracea
Zamia furfuracea Zamia furfuracea
Zamia furfuracea
Zamia furfuracea Cardboard plant, Cardboard palm, Jamaican sago tree. James Cook University, Qld
Zamia furfuracea Cal's Plant of the Week, University of Oklahoma

Other Species

Bowenia serrulata The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Bowenia spectabilis The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Lepidozamia hopei The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Macrozamia miquelii Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network

Warning: collection, propagation, movement, sale or purchase of any Australian native plant may be subject to laws and regulations. Be sure to check with appropriate authorities before engaging in these activities, even on private property. Other laws may also apply to the treatment and movement of plant or soil material (for example, to control the spread of weeds, pests and diseases.)

Older News

Pre-colonial cycad a star of Gardens' expansion

A rare, 250 year old cycad will be one of the stars of the new Brisbane Botanic Gardens expansion at Mt Coot-tha. The 6.5m high, 2 tonne specimen came originally from Injune in SW Queensland. The cycad and 31,000 other new plants plus a new lagoon, playground, picnic facilities, and kitchen garden are a part of a major upgrade to the Gardens, the largest since it opened in 1970. Source: 250 year old tree forms centrepiece of gardens expansion (January, 2015)

Cycad seeds may favour colony development

The large fleshy seeds of cycads suggest they are adapted for dispersal by a large animal, but no large birds or mammals today are known to routinely eat them. So how have cycads survived? Based on monitoring of Macrozamia miquelii by University of Queensland researchers, a new theory proposes that cycads' tendency to occur in well separated but dense colonies in the wild is a reflection of limited seed dispersal mechanisms and that this may actually be to the cycad's advantage. Because plants are either male or female, a lone seed dispersed far from other plants would be unlikely to reproduce. Very large but now-extinct animals might have eaten and deposited several seeds at once. The need to form colonies may have prevented cycads from evolving smaller seeds better suited to dispersal by smaller fauna. Source: Ancient cycads found to be pre-adapted to grow in groves (August 2013)

Inland cycad not a rainforest remnant

Analysis of the MacDonnell Ranges cycad (Macrozamia macdonellii), suggests its ancestors arrived in central Australia in only the last 2 million years or so. If it had been isolated from its eastern relatives for 30 million years, as previously thought, greater divergence should have been observed. This means that the cycad is probably not a survivor of an ancient Eocene era rainforest. Source: Cycads in central Australia are not ancient relics (August 2012)

Guam cycad pollination studies

Studies of the endangered Guam cycad Cycas micronesica (locally known as Fadang) showed that plants on the windier side of the island produced fewer seeds, suggesting insects may be more important than wind for pollination. Understanding the reproduction of this threatened species may be critical to ensuring its survival. Read more at the Western Pacific Tropical Research Center website: Fadang photo makes the cover of major botanical journal (July 2011)

New container for Kew veteran

One of the world's oldest pot plants - a specimen of cycad Encephalartos altensteinii collected from South Africa in the 1770s - has been repotted at the United Kingdom's Kew Gardens. With a trunk now over 4m long, great care and effort was required to lift the huge weight of this famous plant without damage. It now lives in a handcrafted mahogany box. Read more at the Kew website: Ancient cycad, the King of Kew's Palm House, gets a new home

Cycads among additions to Townsville botanic garden

A new cycad garden and an avenue planting of 50 Kauri Pines is opening at Anderson Gardens. One of three botanic gardens in Townsville, Anderson Gardens is developing a theme of "dry tropical and native flora". Read more: Council unveils new plantings at Anderson Gardens (Townsville City Council) (June 2008)

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