Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos humilis

Encephalartos humilis I. Verd., "Bothalia 6: 220, 241, pl. 3 " (1951).
"TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Transvaal Province, Schogen Hill, with male cone, Dyer 4806 (?holo PRE - not stated)."

Etymology: Latin humilis, humble or lowly, from the small stature.




Historical notes: Described in 1951 by South African botanist Inez Verdoon.

Distinguishing features: A dwarf species with very little clear trunk and short, keeled, twisted and recurved leaves with entire leaflets. Other dwarf species with short leaves have straight, erect, more or less flat leaves. E. humilis is though to be most closely related to the much larger and longer-leaved arborescent species E. lanatus and E. laevifolius.

Distribution and habitat: Eastern Transvaal Province, South Africa, in grassland on slopes on sandy soils over sandstones.

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


Plants acaulescent; stem 0.3 m tall, 20 cm diam.

Leaves 30-50 cm long, dark green, semiglossy, slightly keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 120-160° on rachis); rachis yellowish, straight with last third sharply recurved, slightly twisted in some leaves; petiole straight, with no prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.

Leaflets linear, strongly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 9-13 cm long, 4-6 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1, narrowly ovoid, brown, 15-20 cm long, 4-5 cm diam.

Seed cones 1, ovoid, brown, 25-30 cm long, 8-10 cm diam.

Seeds ovoid, 25-30 mm long, 20-25 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow.

The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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