|Photo Ken Hill
|The Cycad Pages
- Cycas seemannii A. Braun, Sitzungsber. Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin: 114-115 (1876). L—K
- "TYPE: Fiji, Seeman 572 (lecto (fide Smith 1979) K; isolecto A, BM, G, P)."
Honouring German naturalist and publisher Berthold Carl Seemann
(1825-1871), collector of the type, who trained as a botanical
collector at Kew and left most of his collections at Kew.
de Laubenfels 1978 (as circinalis),
Smith 1979 (as rumphii f. seemannii),
Carruthers 1893, Hill 1994.
C. seemannii from Fiji was described by German professor
of botany Alexander Carl Heinrich Braun from specimens collected
by Seemann in Fiji in 1860. This was generally accepted as a distinct
taxon until the confused treatment by
No type was cited. Smith (1979) designated Seeman 572 as the
lectotype of C. rumphii forma seemannii, which was based on
C. seemannii and therefore must have the same type. The
K and BM sheets bear no locality details, but the specimen in
G is labelled `Seemann 572, Viti / Fiji Is., 1860' with a printed
label of Kew style. Seemann
records this number as being
from `Viti Levu and Ovalau'. These are different islands in the
Fiji group, and Seemann was apparently recording the distribution
as he knew it, rather than the collection site for the specimen.
Schuster (1932) made the combination C. circinalis subsp.
realised the affinities with
C. rumphii, and corrected the error he had perceived in
Schuster by making the combination C. rumphii forma seemannii.
Kanehira was followed by Smith
The validity of treatment
of this species as an infrageneric taxon within both C. rumphii
and C. circinalis has been discussed elsewhere
The name C. neocaledonica Linden
also cited as Greguss or Linden ex Greguss
(in reference to
42, 176) is a nomen nudum. Linden only listed the
name, and Greguss merely asserted
that, on anatomical grounds, this was a species distinct from
all others that he had studied. He did not furnish a valid description.
Distinguished by the relatively narrow leaflets with some but interrupted
laminar hypodermis, the relatively short, usually spine-free petiole,
the triangular megasporophyll apex with a distinct terminal spine
and 18-30 distinct lateral spines 2-8 mm long. Adaxial hypodermis
is variably continuous or interrupted by the broad, low midrib.
Plants from Vanuatu are generally more robust with broader leaflets,
possibly due to genetic admixture from C. bougainvilleana
to the north. More clearly intermediate forms occur in the Solomon
Distribution and habitat:
Widespread in the south-west Pacific, from Tonga west to New Caledonia,
south of about 12° S. A species usually found on calcareous
beach dune sands or coral limestone formations, but extending
to various substrates on continental islands (except New Caledonia,
where restricted to coastal sites, possibly as a result of more
recent introduction there). The range of this species has been
severely reduced on many islands by intensive shifting agriculture
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants category R.
Longolongo (Fiji and Tonga), Roro (Fiji), No-moll
|Photo Ken Hill
|Photo Ken Hill
Stems arborescent, to 4(-10) m tall, 10-20 cm diam. at narrowest point.
Leaves deep green, semiglossy, 150-200 cm long, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis), with 150-230 leaflets, with white and orange tomentum shedding as leaf expands; rachis usually terminated by paired leaflets. Petiole 28-39 cm long (16-22% of total leaf), petiole glabrous, unarmed (sometimes spinescent for up to 20). Basal leaflets not gradually reducing to spines, 90-150 mm long.
Median leaflets simple, strongly discolorous, 180-290 mm long, 8-15 mm wide, inserted at 45-70° to rachis, decurrent for 4-10 mm, narrowed to 4-7 mm at base (to 33-45% of maximum width), 12-21 mm apart on rachis; median leaflets section flat; margins slightly recurved (sometimes undulate); apex acute, not spinescent; midrib flat above, raised below.
Cataphylls narrowly triangular, soft, pilose, persistent.
Pollen cones fusiform, orange to brown (pale), 35-50 cm long, 12-15 cm diam.; microsporophyll lamina firm, dorsiventrally thickened, 30 mm long, 15 mm wide, fertile zone 25 mm long, sterile apex 5 mm long, level, apical spine rudimentary or absent, sharply upturned, 0-5 mm long.
Megasporophylls 25-35 cm long, white-tomentose and yellow-tomentose; ovules 4-8, glabrous; lamina ovate to lanceolate, 50-85 mm long, 20-40 mm wide, regularly dentate, with 20-30 pungent lateral spines 2.5-8 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, apical spine distinct from lateral spines, 10-20 mm long.
Seeds flattened-ovoid, 45-60 mm long, 40-50 mm wide; sarcotesta orange-brown, not pruinose to slightly pruinose, 4-5 mm thick; fibrous layer absent; sclerotesta apically crested. Spongy endocarp present.