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The Cycad Pages
Chigua bernalii

Chigua bernalii D.W. Stev., Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 57: 169-172 (1990).
"TYPE: Colombia, 27 Jul 1986, R. Bernal, G. Galeano & D. Restrepo 1189 (holo COL, iso FTG)."


Etymology: The specific epithet is named for Rodrigo Bernal who first discovered and collected the species.

Historical notes:

Distinguishing features: Leaflets linear to linear-lanceolate with a midrib and longitudinal dichotomous lateral veins.

Distribution and habitat: Only known from the type locality in northern Colombia where the genus occurs in primary rainforest from 100-200 m.

Conservation status: Not only is this species, which has only been collected once, endangered but the genus as well. Moreover, reproductive material has never been seen. If it survives in habitat, at least for now, it is because it is too dangerous to travel there. The size of the populations of this species is unknown. Even so, the area itself is under threat of habitat destruction from cattle grazing, mining activities, and oil exploration. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Category E,I,E.T.

Description:

Stem hypogeous, ellipsoid, to 10 cm diam.

Leaves 2-3, glabrous, stipulate; petiole subterete, 1-1.4 m long, armed with prickles; rachis semiterete, 60-160 cm long, armed with prickles below, smooth above.

Leaflets alternate below, subopposite in middle, opposite above, 30-50 on each side, linear to linear-lanceolate, 1-1.5 cm wide, 30-35 cm long, papyraceous, sessile, cuneate at base, caudate at apex, margins undulate with well defined teeth.

Cones unknown.


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