The world’s oldest pot plant

January 25, 2013

encephalartos_altensteiniiWhen Francis Masson brought this giant cycad from South Africa to Kew Gardens in 1775, it didn’t get to shrivel up in a small pot on the windowsill next to the sink. On the contrary, when the world-famous gardens opened its Palm House in 1848, it was one of the first plants to be moved into it. The plant, which produced its first (and final) cone in 1819 is still alive today – it was repotted in 2009 to celebrate the gardens’ 250th anniversary. Because Encephalartos altenseinii weighs more than a tonne, a gantry was needed to lift the massive trunk and root ball out of its old container (in which it had lived since 1984).



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