Old Taitung Cycads in SE Taiwan placed under protection

The oldest among the selected eight Taitung Cycads is 146 years old

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Old Taitung Cycads are placed under protection after a recent tree census. (Taitung County Government photo)

Old Taitung Cycads are placed under protection after a recent tree census. (Taitung County Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A 146-year-old Taitung Cycad is among 31 old trees that have been placed under protection after Taiwan’s southeastern county of Taitung conducted a tree census recently.

According to Council of Agriculture’s tree census guidelines, city and county governments should conduct at least one tree census every five years, Liberty Times reported on Tuesday (May 14).

Therefore, Taitung County Government had secured a budget from the central government to conduct a tree census in the county, and initially 170 trees were selected for protection, from which experts narrowed down to 31 trees. Eight of the 31 trees are Taitung Cycads.

The county government is promulgating the trees listed for protection from now until June 9, and if no objections would be raised, these trees would officially be listed as protected trees, according to the report.

The oldest among the selected eight Taitung Cycads is the 146-year-old, which is located in Lijia Elementary School (利嘉國小). The eight senior cycads include a 120-year-old in Pei Nan Junior High School (卑南國中), another 120-year-old in Rueifong Elementary School (瑞豐國小) in Luye Township, and the youngest 70-year-old in Dian-Guang Elementary School in Guanshan Township.

The Taitung Cycad is endemic to Taiwan, and is a gymnosperm plant belonging to the Cycadaceae class, according to Forestry Bureau.“It usually grows between 1 to 5 m in height. It is a dioecious plant, with flat round seeds that are rich in starch, which serves as food for smaller mammals,” the bureau said, adding that it is also a popular garden plant.