The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos hirsutus

Encephalartos hirsutus P.J.H. Hurter, "S. African J. Bot. 62(1): 46-48, fig 1" (1996). H—PRE
"TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Northern Province, 1000 m alt, frond and male cone, 7 Jun 1994, P.J.H. Hurter 94R/1 (holo PRE)."

Etymology: Latin hirsutus, hairy, from the persistent tomentum.




Historical notes: Described in 1996 by South African horticulturist P.J.H. Hurter. A recently recognised member af a group of blue-leaved Transvaal cycads (see also E. dolomiticus, E. eugene-maraisii, E. dyerianus and E. middelbergensis)

Distinguishing features: Distinguished within a group of blue-leaved Transvaal species by the straight leaves with straight tips, the upwardly overlapping (incubous) median leaflets that are distinctly decurrent, short and entire, the lower 1-2 pairs of leaflets reducing in size but not becoming divided, a clear petiole up to 13 cm long, and glaucous bluish green cones with no persistent tomentum. 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:

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


Plants arborescent; stem 4 m tall, 35-40 cm diam.

Leaves 110-140 cm long, blue or silver, dull, strongly keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 40-70° on rachis); rachis blue, straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with no prickles, spine-free for 13 cm; basal leaflets not reducing to spines, or reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, concolorous, overlapping upwards, not lobed, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°) or acute (less than 45°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 13-17 cm long, 10-24 mm wide.

Pollen cones 2-5, narrowly ovoid, bluish-green, 50 cm long, 9 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-3, ovoid, blue-green, 40 cm long, 35 cm diam. Smooth.

Seeds oblong, 30-35 mm long, 15-18 mm wide, sarcotesta red.

The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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