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The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii

Encephalartos eugene-maraisii I. Verd., J. S. African Bot. 11(1): 1-3 (1945). H—PRE
"TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Transvaal, Waterberg Distr., Polala Plateau, E. Marais sub Marloth 13368 (holo PRE)."


Photo Ken Hill

Etymology: Honoring Eugene Marais, South African naturalist and writer, who first reported this species.

Literature:

Illustrations:

Vernacular:

Historical notes: Described in 1945 by South African botanist Inez Verdoon. Thought to cover a number of widely disjunct populations of blue-leaved cycads in Transvaal province when described, but subsequently refined in the light of closer study with the segregation of a number of other species (see E. middelburgensis, E. dyerianus, E. dolomiticus). E. hirsutus is another more recently recognised member of this group.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished within a group of blue-leaved Transvaal species by the straight leaves with incurved tips, the entire median leaflets, with lower leaflets often developing a single spine on the lower margin, the lower 2-3 pairs of leaflets reducing in size and becoming divided, a clear petiole 12 16 cm long, and green cones with a fine brown tomentum. This group of Transvaal 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: Central Transvaal Province, South Africa, in scattered small populations around the Waterberg region.

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

Description:

Plants arborescent; stem 2.5 m tall, 30-45 cm diam.

Leaves 100-150 cm long, blue or silver, dull, strongly keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 50-90° on rachis); rachis blue, straight with last third sharply recurved, slightly twisted in some leaves; petiole straight, with no prickles, spine-free for 15 cm; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets not reducing to spines, or reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, concolorous, overlapping downwards, not lobed, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 15-20 cm long, 13-18 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, fusiform, brown, 20-40 cm long, 6-8 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-2, ovoid, brown, 30-50 cm long, 16-20 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 35-40 mm long, 23-30 mm wide, sarcotesta orange-brown.


The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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