Dyer, student and monographer of the South African cycads.
Described in 1988 by South African botanists
Douglas Goode, who recognised
that the blue-leaved Transvaal cycads previously all included in E.
eugene-maraisii fell into a number of clearly morphologically distinct
and geographically separated populations (see also E. dolomiticus
and E. middelbergensis). Similar observations were published more or
less simultaneously by Robbertse et al. (1990), resulting in creation of
the redundant names E. graniticola and E. verrucosus. E.
hirsutus is another more recently recognised member of this group.
Distinguished within a group of blue-leaved Transvaal species by the
straight leaves sometimes with slightly twisted or recurved tips, the
leaflets usually with 1-2 spines on each margin, the lower about 6 pairs of
leaflets reducing in size and becoming divided, no clear petiole, and
yellow, glabrous cones. This group of species is distinguished from the
blue-leaved species of the Cape Province (E. lehmannii and allies)
by the almost concolorous leaves with stomata on both surfaces.
Distribution and habitat:
Known from a single granite mountain in north-eastern Transvaal Province,
South Africa, in open shrubland and grassland on slopes.
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
Plants arborescent; stem 4 m tall, 60 cm diam.
Leaves 140-170 cm long, blue or silver, dull, moderately keeled
(opposing leaflets inserted at 90-120° on rachis); rachis blue, straight,
stiff, slightly twisted in some leaves; petiole straight, with 1-6 prickles;
leaf-base collar prominent; basal leaflets reducing to spines.
Leaflets lanceolate, concolorous, not overlapping, not lobed,
insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin lightly
toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets
17-24 cm long, 13-18 mm wide.
Pollen cones 5-8, narrowly ovoid, bluish-green to yellow, 30-50 cm
long, 9-12 cm diam.
Seed cones 1-5, ovoid, blue-green to yellow, 30-60 cm long, 10-20 cm
Seeds oblong, 40-45 mm long, 25-30 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow to