|Photo Ken Hill
|The Cycad Pages
- Cycas media R. Br., Prodr. 1: 348 (1810).
- "TYPE: Australia, ""New Holland, North Coast"", R. Brown s.n. (holo BM; iso K)."
From the Latin media middle, possibly referring to the morphologically
intermediate form of this species.
|Photo Ken Hill
Gaudichaud 1829, Domin 1928, Stearn 1976
Miquel 1842, Gardner 1923,
Stearn 1976, Mabberley 1985
Cited only as `(T.) v.v.',
`T.' (`littus intra Tropicum') representing tropical Australia
between the Endeavour River and Arnhem Bay, and `v.v.' (`visas
vivas') indicating that Brown had seen living plants in their
natural habitat. Probably collected on 16 Oct 1802 from Calder
Island, in the Cumberland Group off Mackay (Groves & Moore
1989). Bennett allocated the same number (3106) to Brown's collections
of both C. media and C. angulata.
Although the type specimens of C. normanbyana were labelled
`Port Denison', this was merely the port from which they were
dispatched to Mueller. Fitzalan in his correspondence to Mueller
gave the actual locality of collection as `near the Burdekin River
Distinguished from other Australian species by the robust habit with
a tall, stout trunk with persistent leaf bases and cataphylls, the long,
hard, strongly pungent, shortly pubescent cataphylls, the glabrous, glossy
green leaves with more or less flat leaflets, and the relatively
small seeds. The similar C. silvestris has markedly broader leaflets
and a smooth trunk, and the similar C. megacarpa has usually
shorter, more strongly keeled leaves with fewer leaflets, larger
seeds, soft, vilous cataphylls and a more slender trunk.
Plants from near-coastal sites
in the Cooktown district and north of there have wider and more
distinctly falcate leaflets and smaller seeds. An isolated population
on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula near the Rocky River
estuary is distinguished by much longer cataphylls. These variants
are recognised below as subspecies.
Distribution and habitat:
Widespread and locally common in open or closed forest or occasionally
rainforest in eastern Queensland, from south of Mackay to coastal
Cape York Peninsula, east of Coen.
Key to subspecies
1 leaflets 5--7 mm wide, margins distinctly recurved; seeds more
than 32 mm diam. -- A. subsp. media
1* leaflets 7--10 mm wide, margins slightly recurved; seeds up to
32 mm diam.
2 Longest cataphylls more than 100 mm long -- B. subsp. ensata
2* Longest cataphylls less than 90 mm long -- C. subsp. banksii
A. Cycas media subsp. media
Hill 1992, fig. 3a, c-h, j.
Leaves 70--180 cm long; median leaflets 130--210 mm long, 6--8 mm
wide. Longest cataphylls 60--90 mm long. Seeds 34--39 mm long,
32--35 mm wide.
the names C. kennedyana and C. normanbyana
have been widely applied to forms of C. media subsp. media,
and also erroneously to two other Queensland species from south
of the range of C. media. The diagnostic features of these
`taxa' as originally described occur at random through most populations
of C. media subsp. media.
locally abundant in coastal eucalypt forests,
from around Cardwell south to around St Lawrence. This subspecies
is usually found on sites that offer good soil drainage, often
on sandy soils and on sloping sites.
not considered to be at risk.
B. Cycas media subsp. ensata
Leaves 140--230 cm long; median leaflets 130--240 mm long, 7.5--9
mm wide. Longest cataphylls 100--120 mm long. Seeds 33--36 mm
long, 29--32 mm wide.
Distinguished by the very long, hard and sharp cataphylls.
known from the coastal plain north of Silver
Plains homestead, apparently extending as far north as Lockhart
River. Locally abundant in tall eucalypt forest--rainforest ecotonal
areas with Livistona muelleri on flat country, on deep
alluvial sandy soil.
locally abundant and isolated, not
considered to be greatly at risk, but warranting a
ROTAP category of 2R-
at least until a more comprehensive survey of the occurrence
can be conducted.
the epithet is from the Latin ensatus,
a sword, in reference to the unusually long and sharp cataphylls.
C. Cycas media subsp. banksii
fig. 3b, i.
Leaves 100--200 cm long; median leaflets 130--240 mm long, 7.5--10
mm wide. Longest cataphylls 70--100 mm long. Seeds 32--36 mm long,
27--32 mm wide.
Distinguished by the shorter cataphylls and relatively broad leaflets.
abundant in near-coastal sites, usually in
tall eucalypt forests, from north of Cooktown to south of Cairns.
widespread and locally abundant, not
considered to be at risk.
the epithet commemorates Joseph Banks, botanist
on Cook's first voyage, and first European to collect this taxon,
at Endeavour River in 1770.
|Photo Ken Hill
|Photo Ken Hill
Stems arborescent, to 3(-6) m tall, 10-18 cm diam. at narrowest point.
Leaves bright green or deep green, highly glossy or semiglossy, 90-230 cm long, slightly keeled or flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 140-180° on rachis), with 160-300 leaflets, with orange tomentum shedding as leaf expands; terminated by paired leaflets or a spine 3-55 mm long. Petiole 30-70 cm long (20-30% of total leaf), petiole glabrous or pubescent, spinescent for 10-80% of length. Basal leaflets not gradually reducing to spines, 70-150 mm long.
Median leaflets simple, strongly discolorous, 130-260 mm long, 6-10 mm wide, inserted at 45-75° to rachis, decurrent for 2-7 mm, narrowed to 2.5-4.5 mm at base (to 30-50% of maximum width), 7-13 mm apart on rachis; median leaflets section flat; margins slightly recurved; apex aristate, not spinescent; midrib flat above, raised below.
Cataphylls linear, pungent, pilose, 80-120 mm long, persistent.
Pollen cones ovoid, orange, 15-25 cm long, 8-15 cm diam.; microsporophyll lamina firm, not dorsiventrally thickened, 25-33 mm long, 8-12 mm wide, fertile zone 16-22 mm long, sterile apex 8-11 mm long, deflexed, apical spine prominent, sharply upturned, 6-10 mm long.
Megasporophylls 20-37 cm long, grey-tomentose or brown-tomentose; ovules 4-10, glabrous; lamina ovate to lanceolate, 35-100 mm long, 17-32 mm wide, regularly dentate, with 18-32 pungent lateral spines 4-10 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, apical spine distinct from lateral spines, 15-45 mm long.
Seeds flattened-ovoid, 31-38 mm long, 26-32 mm wide; sarcotesta orange-brown, not pruinose, 3-4 mm thick; fibrous layer absent; sclerotesta smooth. Spongy endocarp absent.
|Photo Ken Hill