Lillie's Cycad

Scientific Name
Encephalartos dyerianus Lavranos & D.L.Goode
Higher Classification
Encephalartos graniticolus Vorster, Robbertse & S.van der Westh.
Common Names
Broodboom (a), Cycad (e), Lillie Cycad (e), Lillie-broodboom (a), Lillie's Cycad (e), Lowveld Cycad (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Critically Endangered B1ab(v)+2ab(v)
Assessment Date
J.D. Bösenberg & J.S. Donaldson
This species is assessed as Critically Endangered. This species is known primarily from a single locality with a second small non-viable cluster of five plants. The fragmented distribution has negative implications for the smaller site where the physical distance from the main site, together with a small number of plants, precludes any chance of reproduction. Although the main subpopulation is now included in a reserve, collecting still remains a threat -107 plants were illegally removed in January 2008 and poaching incidents on the unprotected hill have been recorded recently. Other cycad species in the vicinity have been decimated by collectors. This threat means that the entire range (within an extent of occurrence of only 8 km2) is one location. Thus it qualifies as Critically Endangered under criterion B.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
The main subpopulation of this species, comprising 99% of all known plants, occurs on a single granite mountain in Limpopo Province, South Africa. It occurs at an altitude of c.700 m. The only other subpopulation comprises 5 adult plants and is situated ~20km from the main location.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Gravelotte Rocky Bushveld
The plants grow in open shrubland and grassland on slopes of a single low granite hill. The surrounding area consists of plains covered with Mopane trees (Colophospermum mopane).
Reproductive failure may occur if more mature individuals are removed/poached from the population.

The population size of this species was originally estimated as approximately 600 mature individuals but 107 plants were illegally removed in January 2008, and it is thought likely that it has continued to decline, with poaching incidents on the unprotected hill having been recorded recently.

Population trend
Protected within a private game reserve.
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Encephalartos dyerianus Lavranos & D.L.GoodeCR B1ab(i,v)+2ab(i,v)Raimondo et al. (2009)
Encephalartos dyerianus Lavranos & D.L.GoodeEndangered Hilton-Taylor (1996)

Donaldson, J.S. 2003. Cycads. Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC Cycad Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland; Cambridge, UK.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Robbertse, P.J., Vorster, P. and Van der Westhuizen, S. 1988. Encephalartos graniticolus (Zamiaceae): a new species from the north-eastern Transvaal. South African Journal of Botany 54(4):363-366.

Vorster, P. 1992. Focus on Encephalartos dyerianus. Encephalartos 29:3-7.

Bösenberg, J.D. & Donaldson, J.S. 2020. Encephalartos dyerianus Lavranos & D.L.Goode. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/07/14

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Distribution map

© J.S. Donaldson

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