Photo Dennis Stevenson
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The Cycad Pages
Chigua restrepoi

Chigua restrepoi D.W. Stev., Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 57: 169-172 (1990).
"TYPE: Colombia, 14 Mar 1987, D. Stevenson 693 (holo COL, iso FTG, NY)."[NY][NY][NY][NY]


Etymology: The specific epithet is in honor of Padre Sergio Restrepo who relocated the species, accompanied and guided Knut Norstog and Dennis Stevenson during their field work, and was subsequently martyred (see Stevenson, Mem. N.Y. Bot. Gard. 57: VII. 1990).

Historical notes: Chigua restrepoi was first collected as an unicate by Francis Pennell in 1918. It was not until 1986 that a population conforming to Pennell's collection was relocated by Rodrigo Bernal. The generic name is derived from the name used for cycads by indigenuous people in Colombia.

Distinguishing features: Leaflets lanceolate with a midrib and longitudinal dichotomous lateral veins; cones with very long peduncles from 2 to 3 times the length of the cone proper.

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: This species has only been collected legitimately four times, once in 1917 and then three times in 1986, 1987, 1988. Not only is this species endangered but the genus as well. If it survives in habitat, at least for now, it is because it is too dangerous to travel there. The number and size of the populations of both species are 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..
Photo Dennis Stevenson
Photo Dennis Stevenson

Description:

Stem hypogeous, ellipsoid, to 10 cm diam.

Cataphylls pubescent, triangular, stipulate.

Leaves 2-3, glabrous, stipulate; petiole subterete, 60-80 cm long, armed with prickles; rachis semiterete, 60-100 cm long, armed with prickles below, smooth above.

Leaflets alternate below, subopposite in middle, opposite above, 20-30 on each side, lanceolate, 3-5 cm wide, 15-25 cm long, papyraceous, sessile, cuneate at base, caudate at apex, margins with well defined teeth.

Pollen cones cylindrical, 5 cm long, 2 cm diam., covered with reddish-brown tomentum; peduncle glabrous, 10 cm long, 1 cm diam; microsporophylls peltate, sterile peltate tip flat.

Seed cones cylindrical, 15 cm long, 5 cm diam., covered with reddish-brown tomentum; peduncle glabrous, 30 cm long, 1.5 cm diam,; megasporophylls peltate with a narrow basal stalk, hexagonal with a conspicuous bump at each angle of the hexagon.

Seeds ovoid, red at maturity.


The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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