04 Dec 2012
Meet the world's oldest pot plant in the Palm House at Kew Gardens
King of the Palm House, this huge Jurassic cycad, Encephalartos altensteinii (i), was collected in the early 1770s from Eastern Cape region of South Africa, by Kew's first plant hunter Francis Masson.
The plant hunter Francis Masson was commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks to step aboard the Resolution and join Captain Cook's second voyage around the globe. This ancient plant, commonly known as the Eastern Cape giant cycad, arrived back at Kew Gardens in 1775 and has thrived in Kew's majestic Palm House since it was built in 1848. This cycad was one of the first living collections to arrive at Kew Gardens, kick-starting a legacy which makes the Gardens what they are today - a living collection of over 30,000 plant species. Find out more about Francis Masson
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