Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Bowenia serrulata

Bowenia serrulata (W. Bull) Chamb., Bot. Gaz. 54: 419 (1912). t. 5

Etymology: Latin, serrulatus, finely serrate or toothed, from the toothed leaf margins.

Historical notes: Originally described as a variety of Bowenia spectabilis by English nurseryman William Bull in his 1878 catalogue of plants for sale, and raised to the status of species by the emininent American cycadologist C.J. Chamberlain in 1912.

Distinguishing features: The always dentate leaflets and the broadly globose underground stems with more than 5 branches.

Distribution and habitat: Scattered and locally abundant in dry sclerophyll eucalypt forest in central eastern Queensland, in the vicinity of Byfield, north-east of Rockhampton. Occasionally cultivated as an ornamental, and popular as ornamental foliage in the florist trade.

Conservation status: Not considered to be at risk (IUCN Red List category LR,lc).


Plants acaulescent; stem subterranean, tuber-like, subglobular, to 25 cm in diameter, with an elongate tuberous taproot, and 5-20 short, slender leaf and conebearing branches.

Leaves 5-30 in the crown, erect, with 6-16 spreading branches (pinnae), 100-200 cm long, to 100 cm broad; petiole to 100 cm long.

Leaflets 7-30 on each branch, sharply and regularly serrate, a few sometimes coarsely lacerate, obliquely lanceolate, decurrent at base, 7-15 cm long, 1.5-4 cm broad.

Pollen cones stalked, ovoid, to 5 cm long, 2.5 cm in diameter; sporophylls broadly cuneate, distally dilated and truncate.

Seed cones sessile, ovoid to globose, to 15 cm long, 15 cm in diameter; sporophylls in about 8 ranks, the expanded ends ± hexagonal, 3-5.5 cm broad, to 2.5 cm high.

Seeds to 4.5 cm long, 3.0 cm wide; sarcotesta white maturing to dull purple.

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sy dney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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