Encephalartos lanatus, the Olifants River cycad, is a grassland plant that does well in full sun. It is frost hardy and drought resistant. Survival of veld fires is a fortunate feature, vital for living in grassland.
The habitat of this plant lies in the upper reaches of the Olifants River in Mpumalanga, a quite restricted natural distribution area. The plant grows slowly and does not transplant easily. Apart from the generally strict legal requirements for acquiring and owning cycad plants, the risk of destroying a rare plant should always serve as a deterrent to all good citizens of the earth; rather admire them where they grow in nature or in public gardens, planted by experts.
The name lanatus (Latin) meaning woolly, refers to the young leaf and cone woolliness. Mature plants may sometimes produce suckers that grow around the main stem. This species resembles E. laevifolius, E. humilis and E. friderici-guilielmi (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica.com).