Zululand Cycad

Encephalartos ferox

Family: Zamiaceae
Genus: Encephalartos (en-sef-uh-LAR-tos) (Info)
Species: ferox (FER-oks) (Info)
Synonym:Encephalartos kosiensis



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Seed is poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage



This plant is fire-retardant

This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Hayward, California

Port Hueneme, California

Reseda, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Torrance, California

Tulare, California

Visalia, California

Brandon, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Cayce, South Carolina

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 9, 2008, Stuber from Fernandina Beach, FL wrote:

Grows well but slowly both in Tampa and in the coastal Jacksonville, FL area with some protection. Also looks best with some protection from blazing hot sunshine. Available on a limited (but pricey) basis in Florida from some growers.


On Mar 26, 2006, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

ferox has sailed through two San Francisco bay area winters and is a deep lush green. It may be common in subtropical areas but it is not common here,-and should be!...faster growing than the easier to find Dioons or Macrozamias. It does look best in part shade as pointed out by palmbob.
2012: Still doing fine. The winter of 2007 and the unexpected sharp 32f of December 2011,didn't affect it. It is still a slow growing plant,but faster then most cycads. Cycad people know what I mean. I have seen them with 4-6' fronds on large old plants and with neon orange cones..so far,mine has about 3' fronds..and larger by the year.
2013: The California freeze of Jan 2013? NO problem in the bay area. And just looks as exotic as ever. No doubt in the top ten list of norcal cycads.


On Sep 26, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the faster growing and easy to find (and cheaper) Encephalartos available in cultivation. It is popular because of it's interesting, yet very sharp, spiny, wide, deep green leaflets, and the firey red reproductive cones they produce. It is one of the few Encephalartos that prefer not to be grown if full, blazing hot sun (leaves will blanch), though it will survive and grow faster in that situation.