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Rare Cycads Stolen in South Florida

On four separate occasions over the past few months, one or more individuals broke into Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) in Coral Gables, Florida, and stole at least 40 rare cycads worth a minimum of $10,000.00. Below are the dates of the robberies and the species and numbers of plants that were stolen. These cycads were either taken from the conservatory (which is also affectionately known as the "rare plant house"), or were dug up out of the ground. The plants of the larger growing species were all rather small and immature, averaging 4-6" caudexes. The Zamia pseudoparasitica plants were quite large; in fact, one of them had 8-foot leaves and a huge female cone. The smaller Zamia species and the Stangeria plants were all of coning size. Some of the species taken are quite rare -- such as Encephalartos laurentianus and Zamia dressleri -- and at least two species -- Zamia amplifolia and Z. prasina -- are virtually unknown in cultivation in the U.S. Therefore, if plants of these species are being offered for sale in the sizes described above -- particularly here in south Florida -- they may be suspect. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden offered a $25,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons involved in the theft, but the plants were never recovered and the thieves were not caught. For more information about the reward and the thefts, click on the following link:

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden press
release of September 18, 2002

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Date of Theft

Species
(Click on underlined names to see photos of the plants)

# of plants
taken
March 2002? Encephalartos laurentianus
Zamia spartea
3
1
May 26, 2002? Zamia dressleri
Zamia pseudoparasitica
1
1
July 21, 2002 Dioon califanoi
Stangeria eriopus
Zamia amplifolia
Zamia lecointei
Zamia prasina
Zamia pseudoparasitica
Zamia skinneri
Zamia soconuscensis
Zamia splendens
1
3
1
3
2
1
1
3
2
August 4, 2002 Dioon sp.
Encephalartos ghellinckii
Encephalartos ngoyanus
Encephalartos whitelockii
Stangeria eriopus
Zamia inermis
Zamia lacandona
Zamia pseudoparasitica
Zamia soconuscensis
Zamia standleyi
1
1
1
2
1
2
5
1
2
1
Date unknown Zamia cremnophila 3
Total # Plants Taken 43

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