- Category: Plants
HabitatCoastal evergreen bushland and lowland forest, in red loams and sandy soils among grass and coral rocks, from sea level to 600 m (2000 ft).
DistributionKenya, Hilifi and Lamu districts. Tanzania, Lushoto and Tanga districts, and the island of Zanzibar.
Encephalartos hildebrandtii is well represented in botanical gardens and private collections worldwide. Where the most tropical cycads can be grown, E. hildebrandtii is bound to be evident. Even though this cycad grows at or near sea level, and almost on the equator, it exhibits an unusual amount of cold tolerance by surviving in temperate areas as well. In the warmer portions of southern California it grows with apparent ease, only suffering defoliation or leaf burn during extreme winters. Well-drained soil, sufficient fertilizer, and a warm climate are all this cycad requires. A fast-growing plant, it will reach coning size in 8 - 10 years.
Encephalartos hildebrandtii may be considered threatened, with habitat destruction causing major inroads in its area of occurrence. In more recent years, a considerable quantity of viable seed has been artificially produced on cultivated plants. This seed normally has a high percentage of viability, and the numbers of E. hildebrandtii in cultivation has increased as a result of this seed production. If this trend continues, E. hildebrandtii could become common in cultivation.