Encephalartos arenarius, the Alexandria cycad or in Afrikaans the duinebroodboom (dune bread tree), grows several stems, the longest up to about 1,5 m.
The species distribution is a small coastal area in the Eastern Cape near Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth and Alexandria.
The habitat of E. arenarius is coastal dune scrub. The summers are dry and there is no frost in winter. This natural habitat is largely lost today, causing this species to be threatened and much in need of a conservation effort. The human endeavours of plant collection and habitat destruction through a variety of activities including farming caused the problem and continue to do so.
The species is similar to and thus sometimes confused with E. ferox (a greener-leaved species) and E. latifrons. The latter grows in the same region but the former not. E. altensteinii is distributed over a bigger area of the Eastern Cape and northwards into KwaZulu-Natal.
E. arenarius is grown widely, propagated from seed and sometimes using hand pollination. It is susceptible to frost damage as those who transplant it into different new areas may discover. The Alexandria cycad grows best in semi-shade (www.florcomgardens.co.za; www.plantzafrica.com; http://redlist.sanbi.org).