|The Cycad Pages
- Encephalartos aplanatus Vorster, S. African J. Bot. 62(1): 57-60 (1996). H—PRE
- "TYPE: Swaziland, NE Swaziland, precise locality withheld, P. Vorster 2963b (holo PRE)."
Latin planatus, flat, with the modifying prefix a-, not, from
the twisted and undulate leaflets.
Described in 1996 by South African botanist
Although very similar in reproductive structures to E. villosus,
studies of pollinating insects
have shown that it is pollinated by a different species of insect, supporting the
separation as a different species.
Encephalartos aplanatus closely resembles E. villosus in
habit and seed and pollen cones. It can be distinguished by teh larger
and longer leaves with longer clear petioles and larger leaflets with
more marginal teeth and that are often twisted and undulate. The stem is also
sometimes raised above ground, whereas it is always underground
in E villosus.
Distribution and habitat:
A restricted species known only from a small area in north-eastern Swaziland
Not listed in the
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.
Plants acaulescent; 2-8 leaves in crown.
Leaves 350 cm long, dark green, highly glossy, slightly keeled to
flat in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 150-180° on
rachis); rachis green, gently curved, somewhat lax, not spirally twisted;
petiole straight, with 1-6 prickles, spine-free for 20 cm; leaf-base collar not
present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.
Leaflets linear or lanceolate, strongly discolorous, not overlapping,
not lobed, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); margins incurved (often
twisted or undulate); upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin
lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 30 cm long, 40 mm wide.
Pollen cones 1-3, fusiform, yellow, 60 cm long, 8-10 cm diam.
Seed cones 1-2, ovoid, yellow, 40 cm long, 12 cm diam.
Seeds flattened-ovoid, 25 mm long, 13-15 mm wide, sarcotesta red.