|Photo Ken Hill
|The Cycad Pages
- 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
Honoring Eugene Marais, South African
naturalist and writer, who first reported this species.
Described in 1945 by South African botanist
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.
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.
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
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
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.