According to Dr André Cilliers, marketing manager of Nulandis, Cycads are considered ancient. After many years, cycads might develop a stem, resulting in a similar appearance to palms. However, ancient cycads are very different from palms in so many ways. Cycads are therefore not related to or like palms at all.
Cycads are considered ancient for several reasons. Firstly, they have been detected in fossil records dating back several millions of years. Secondly, the characteristic of being dioecious is a primitive one, unlike higher plants that are self-pollinating. This is considered to be a more advanced trait of more recent plants since more recent monoecious plants can reproduce fertile seed on its own. In other words, cycads require both sexes to generate a seed that can be propagated. Another example of such a plant is Ginkgo biloba, a fossil tree that was discovered alive and well in the deepest forests in China.
For more information about Cycads you can read Dr Cilliers’ full article here.
Operating under an official nursery permit, we house and care for a significant collection of mature cycads, young cycads, and (baby) seedling cycads — many of which are currently being cared for in purpose-built hothouses on the Highlands Cycads farm. A further interesting fact is that we also carry a complete collection of the South African indigenous cycad genera. Propagation of seeds and seedlings remains a priority at Highlands Cycads. This way, we are going above and beyond towards the preservation of this ancient and special species of rare cycad flora.
On the not too distant horizon, keen cycad enthusiasts will be able to visit Highlands Cycads’ very own and truly unique ‘Cycad Jurassic Park’. The primary aim of this project, is to create a large open natural environment where all types of cycad genera will be well-protected without the threat of being stolen for illegal trade. These cycads will co-exist with wild animals (from the Hillcrest Game Estates game ranch), including buffalo, rhino, and a variety of big game species.
Visitors will be able to spend anything from a couple of hours to an overnight stay, in order to view and enjoy the rare beauty that is to be seen in our very own collection of indigenous cycad flora and wild animal fauna. Cycad Jurassic Park will be a space where large cycads can be transplanted and kept safely for future generations. This project will also afford cycad-lovers the opportunity to make a personal contribution towards the preservation of cycads—by planting their own cycads in the open veld. Cycad Jurassic Park is going to be a massive cycad sanctuary in a completely natural environment, to the benefit of all true cycad lovers and enthusiasts.
Every single employee who works at Highlands Cycads shares a genuine environmental appreciation for rare cycad flora. We strive to go above and beyond in our ongoing efforts to care for and protect these amazing ‘living fossils’ so that the next generation will have every reasonable opportunity to share our passion and love of cycads. Similar to the Patek Philippe slogan (Ed. which relates to rare expensive watches), a slight adaption to the slogan might read something like this—something we truly believe to be true for cycads: “You never actually own a cycad. You merely look after it for the next generation.”