Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos cerinus

Encephalartos cerinus Lavranos & D.L. Goode, Durban Mus. Novit. 14: 153-156 (1989). H—NH
"TYPE: Republic of South Africa, KwaZulu/Natal Province, Tugela Ferry district, in a single gorge, alt. ca 900 m, D. Goode 4 (holo NH)."

Photo Ken Hill

Etymology: Latin cerina, wax, from the heavy waxy coat giving the leaves a bluish colour.




Historical notes: Described in 1990 by South African botanists - Lavranos and Douglas Goode.

Distinguishing features: The subterranean habit with few stiffly erect leaves in the crown place this species with E. ngoyanus, E. caffer and E. umbeluziensis. It is distinguished within this group by the short leaves with a distinct bluish bloom and well spaced leaflets bearing 1-2 teeth on the lower margins towards the leaflet apex, the lower leaflets reducing to spines, and the lack of wool in the crown. The orange seed cones are also distinctive, in contrast to green cones in the other species.

Distribution and habitat: Central-northern Natal Province, South Africa, in crevices in sandstone cliffs.

Conservation: 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants category E.


Plants acaulescent; stem 0.3 m tall, 25 cm diam.

Leaves 80-120 cm long, blue or silver to blue green, dull, slightly keeled to flat in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 150-180° on rachis); straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with no prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets linear, weakly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); upper margin entire (no teeth) to lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth) to lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 15-18 cm long, 10-12 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1, fusiform, green to yellow, 55-60 cm long, 9-10 cm diam.

Seed cones 1, ovoid, blue-green to yellow, 30-35 cm long, 12-18 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 25-30 mm long, 16-18 mm wide, sarcotesta orange or yellow.

The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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