Encephalartos dyeri F.Muell.
Macrozamia preissii dyeri (F.Muell.) J.Schust.
Macrozamia dyeri is a slow-growing, evergreen, palm-like plant with an erect, usually unbranched main stem that can eventually be around 40 - 300cm tall and 50 - 120cm in diameter; this is topped by a crown of around 70 - 150, erect, large leaves each around 100 - 220cm long[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Although declining through loss of habitat dur to human activities, Macrozamia dyeri is still relatively abundant and is not considered under threat. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
Australia - Southwestern Western Australia
Sparse woodland, low scrub and in heathland, growing on deep calcareous beach sand deposits[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Macrozamia dyeri is native to a mediterranean climate in Western Australia, growing in a region where the mean annual rainfall is in the region of 600 - 800mm, falling mainly in winter. Summers are hot and dry, with daytime highs to
25°c and nighttime lows down to 18°c, whilst winters are cool to cold, with daytime highs to 17°c and nighttime lows down to 2°c[
Found in the wild on soils ranging from infertile sandy clays to deep sands and laterites[
]. An almost universal requirement for cycads is a well-drained but moisture-retentive soil, and by far the best soils are sandy gravels and light loams which provide the required drainage and aeration necessary for good growth. Cycads will generally not grow well in clay soils unless those soils are heavily amended with sand and organic matter[
]. A neutral soil (pH 7), is generally best for most species of cycads and allows the proper absorption of nutrients. A slightly acid soil is better for most cycads than a basic one[
Cycad species can usually be transplanted easily even when quite large. The best time for moving them is just before the beginning of a new growing season, the roots being trimmed if they are damaged and perhaps some leaves being removed. New roots should develop quickly as the season progresses[
The stem of this species is thick and robust, and in the wild is almost continually black as a result of the annual fires that commonly occur. The plant also has contractile roots, these maintain the stems of seedlings and immature plants below the soil surface, thus protecting them from fire and predators[
Species in this genus form structures known as coralloid roots. These roots branch off from the taproot or secondary roots and are distinctive in that they grow laterally or upward, forming a nodular mass at the apex. These coralloid roots occur slightly below or slightly above the soil surface and generally contain cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. These are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available as a nutrient to the plant. The ability to extract this important nutrient from the air explains how many cycad species are able to survive on almost sterile soils[
A dioecious species, with individual plants producing either all male or all female cones. Therefore both male and female forms of the plant need to be grown if seed is required[
]. On very rare occasions, usually when a plant has been under severe stress, it can change sex and produce either all female or all male cones[
Caution should be employed if using any part of this plant for food. All parts of the plant can contain toxins and can only be eaten if proper measures are taken to remove these toxins.
Seed - cooked[
]. A chief source of food for some Aboriginal groups[
]. Non native people have very differing opinions on this food, with some finding it disgusting, rancid, and like train oil), while others consider it quite as good as that of a chestnut[
]. The ovoid, three-angled seed is around 43 - 55mm long and 28 - 36mm in diameter[
In the natural state the pulp surrounding the seed is poisonous. In order to remove the toxic principles, the seed is soaked n water for a few days, then it is buried in sand and left there until the pulp is nearly dry. It is then fit to eat, usually after roasting[[
Seeds - best sown as soon as they are ripe, though the seeds of many species will take a few months to finish maturing the embryo before they are ready to germinate. Sow the seeds in a tray in a freely-draining medium and place in moderate shade. Bottom heat at about 27°c will hasten seed germination dramatically. Young roots are quite brittle and once germination takes place, the root grows rapidly. It is important to pot up the seedlings at this time in order to give them enough root-space. Grow on the plants in pots until large enough to plant out[