|The Cycad Pages
- Encephalartos arenarius R.A. Dyer, J. S. African Bot. 22(1): 1 (1956). H—PRE
- "TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Cape Province, Alexandria Div., Kaba Valley, Dyer 5441 (holo PRE)."
Latin arenarius, sandy, from the habitat on relic beach dune deposits
of deep sand.
Described in 1956 by South African botanist
Distinguished by the short stems, seldom more than 1 m in height, the
slightly dull silver or grey sheen of adult leaves, and the leaflets with
lobes on the lower margins only. It is most similar to E. latifrons,
which has taller stems and mid to deep green glossy leaves. Median leaflets
of E. latifrons are closely crowded, overlapping and twisted out of
the leaf plane, but clearly spaced and untwisted in E. arenarius.
Distribution and habitat:
Restricted to a small area near Alexandria in eastern Cape Province, South
Africa, in dense mixed shrubland on deep sand of old beach dune systems.
Encephalartos altensteinii grows nearby, and one or two suspected
hybrids are known.
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
Plants arborescent; stem 1 m tall, 20-30 cm diam.
Leaves 100-150 cm long, blue or silver, semiglossy, moderately
keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 120-150° on rachis); rachis green,
gently curved, somewhat lax, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with no
prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.
Leaflets ovate, weakly discolorous, overlapping downwards, with 2-3
lobes on most leaflets, insertion angle horizontal to obtuse (45-80°);
margins flat; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly
toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 12-16 cm long, 30-40 mm wide.
Pollen cones 1, narrowly ovoid, green, 30-50 cm long, 8-15 cm diam.
Seed cones 1, ovoid, green, 50-60 cm long, 25-30 cm diam.
Seeds ovoid, 40-50 mm long, 20-25 mm wide, sarcotesta red.