Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos latifrons

Encephalartos latifrons Lehm., "Tijdschr. Natuurl. Gesch. Physiol. 4: 424, t. 9" (1837). L— t. 9
TYPE: the illustration: t. 9 OR hort Hamburg.

Etymology: Latin latus, broad and frons, a fern frond or leaf. A misnomer since it is the leaflets that are broad and not the leaves.




Historical notes: Described in 1838 by German botanist J.G.C. Lehmann.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by the mid to deep green glossy leaves with broad, closely crowded, overlapping leaflets with lobes on the lower margins only. It is most similar to E. arenarius, which has shorter stems and dull, slightly silver or grey leaves. Median leaflets of E. latifrons are and twisted out of the leaf plane, but separate and untwisted in E. arenarius.

Distribution and habitat: Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, in dense shrubland on rocky ridges and slopes.

Conservation: 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants category E.
Photo Ken Hill
Photo Ken Hill


Plants arborescent; stem 3 m tall, 30-35 cm diam.

Leaves 100-150 cm long, yellow green to light or bright green, highly glossy, moderately keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 90-120° on rachis); rachis yellowish, straight with last third sharply recurved, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with no prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.

Leaflets ovate, strongly discolorous, overlapping upwards, with 2-3 lobes on most leaflets, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 10-15 cm long, 40-60 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 30-50 cm long, 8-17 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 50-60 cm long, 25 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 25-33 mm long, 16-18 mm wide, sarcotesta red.

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sy dney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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