Researchers have wandered the Ngoya forest and other woods of Africa, looking for an E. woodii that could pair with the one in London. They haven't found a single other specimen. They're still searching. Unless a female exists somewhere, E. woodii will never mate with one of its own. It can be cloned. It can have the occasional fling with a closely related species. Hybrid cycads are sold at plant stores, but those plants aren't the real deal. The tree that sits in London can't produce a true offspring. It sits there, the last in its long line, waiting for a companion that may no longer exist.
"Surely this is the most solitary organism in the world," writes biologist Richard Fortey, "growing older, alone, and fated to have no successors. Nobody knows how long it will live."
The tree produced a cone in 2004 for the first time ever, which is the signal for reproduction, but there was no female for it to pollinate. http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/05/10/136029423/the-loneliest-plant-in-the-world
(Image credit: Andrew McRobb/RBG Kew)
Previously: Another species of cycad at Kew Gardens is even older.
While Kew have just the one, it IS extinct in the wild and no female has ever been found, there are SEVERAL HUNDRED specimens being grown around the world. There is a very nice one at the Durban Botanic Gardens, a brother to the Kew one.
It can be crossed with female Encephalartos Natalensis plants (which it is believed to be a mutant of anyhow) and then the offspring can be bred back with the E. Woodii again, so that after three generations you effectively have a pure E. Woodii female. You can keep doing that, gradually eliminating E. Natalensis genes.
So the happy news is that E. Woodii is doing fine and may even be re-introduced to the wild some time in the future.