Saving the World’s  Most Endangered Plants

Cycads are the most threatened plant group on the planet. 

Lotusland’s cycad collection is one of the most complete in any American public garden, with over 450 specimens and almost half of the known species. Zaitoon Rabaney, Executive Director of the Botanical Society of South Africa made the comparison, “Our cycads are rarer than the rhino and are more in danger of extinction.” 

Secure Growing Facility

Lotusland is working with the International Union for Conservation  (IUCN) Species Survial Commission (SSC) and their Cycad Specialist Group to develop an ex situ assurance colony for Encephalartos heenanii, a South African cycad now believed to be extinct in the wild. In 2011 Lotusland produced seed of E. heenanii for the first time ever in the United States (pers. comm. Loran Whitelock) and what is most likely the first time in a public garden anywhere. The goal of this project is to construct a secure growing facility to protect E. heenanii from theft and to for future reintroductions. This Species Survival Action Plan for E. heenanii is in collaboration with our South Africa colleagues. 

The cost to build the Secure Growing Facility is $100,000.

Cycad Garden Remediation Project

Lotusland’s Cycad Garden has lost ten important plants to a devastating fungus, Armillaria. 15 more plants are damaged and many more are threatened. The only effective way to eliminate Armillaria is to find the infected, woody host of old roots or stump material deep within the soil and remove it along with the surrounding contaminated soil. 

The Cycad Garden experienced a significant Armillaria flare-up two decades ago and resulted in a successful five-year fungus eradication program that ened in 2005.  This time, the threat appears to be less extensive, but still quite dangerous if it is not addressed immediately. Armillaria, will not go away on its own. 

Lotusland’s  Remediation Plan: 

Remove 40 cycads from the Mexican section of the garden 

Excavate to a depth of 3 to 5 feet to access all problem areas

Remove all contaminated soil and decaying wood

Backfill 800 an square feet area with custom soil mix

Engineer and construct new drainage system

Replant all displaced plants.

The cost for Cycad Garden Remediation Project is $100,000.

 Help Save Lotusland’s Cycad Collection from a devastating Armillaria oak root fungus &

Join us in Building a Secure Growing Facility and Assurance Colony for an endangered Cycad species.

Your tax deductible contribution matters. Gifts of all sizes have a big impact to help us accomplish this important work.

Please contact Paul Mills, Curator of the Living Collections, for more information on how to help Lotusland complete these two critically important projects. 

Phone 805.565.4431, pmills@lotusland.org.