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The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos equatorialis

Encephalartos equatorialis P.J.H. Hurter, S. African J. Bot. 61(4): 226-229 (1995). H—PRE
"TYPE: Uganda (NE0033), Thruston Bay, 1000 m alt, leaf and part of male cone, 22 Oct 1994, P.J.H. Hurter 94U/1 (holo PRE)."


Etymology: Equator

Literature:

Illustrations:

Vernacular:

Historical notes: Described in 1995 by South African horticulturist P.J.H. Hurter.

Distinguishing features: A large plant with dark green stiff leaves and very thick, straight, dentate leaflets overlapping upward (incubous), especially towards the leaf apex, with more than 3 teeth on each margin and a single spine on the tip. The leaves are similar to E. hildebrandtii, but the leaflets of the latter are thinner, falcate and curving away from the leaf apex, overlapping downwards (succubous) and with 3 spines on the tips. E. ituriensis, is also similar, but with thinner, well-separated leaflets (also falcate and curving downwards). Cones of both are yellow rather than the green of E. equatorialis, and considerably larger. Dark green ovoid cones are like those of E. bubalinus but with wrinkled facets on the megasporophylls.

Distribution and habitat: Known only from two populations on low hills on the northern shore on Lake Victoria, Uganda.

Conservation: 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants status Indeterminate (I).

Description:

Plants arborescent; stem 6 m tall, 40-60 cm diam.

Leaves 300-400 cm long, dark green, highly glossy, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis); rachis green, straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with more than 12 prickles, spine-free for 0 cm; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, strongly discolorous, overlapping upwards, not lobed, insertion angle acute (less than 45°); margins incurved; upper margin heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); lower margin heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); median leaflets 20-26 cm long, 20-26 mm wide.

Pollen cones 5, narrowly ovoid, green, 30-40 cm long, 9-10 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 36-40 cm long, 18-20 cm diam.

Seeds flattened-ovoid or oblong, 35-38 mm long, 23-30 mm wide, sarcotesta red or orange.


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