|Photo Ken Hill
|The Cycad Pages
- Encephalartos middelburgensis Vorster, S. African J. Bot. 55: 122-126 (1989). H—PRE
- "TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Transvaal, farm Doornkop, 20 km N of Middleburg, 26 June 1970, Vorster, Codd & Melville 1898B (holo PRE iso K)."
From the district of Middelburg, eastern Transvaal, with the Latin
termination -ensis, place of origin.
Described in 1990 by South African botanists
Piet Vorster and
-- Van der Westhuizen, who
recognised that the blue-leaved Transvaal cycads previously all included in
E. eugene-maraisii fell into a number of clearly morphologically
distinct and geographically separated populations (see also E
dolomiticus and E. dyerianus). Similar observations were
published more or less simultaneously by Lavranos and Goode (1990),
resulting in creation of the redundant names E. graniticolus and
E. verrucosus. E. hirsutus is another more recently
recognised member of this group.
Distinguished within a group of blue-leaved Transvaal species by the long
straight leaves with straight tips, the entire leaflets, the lower 4-6
pairs of leaflets reducing in size but remaining entire, a clear petiole 35
40 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:
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
Plants arborescent; stem 7 m tall, 40 cm diam.
Leaves 100-180 cm long, blue or silver, dull, strongly keeled; rachis
blue, straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with no prickles;
leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.
Leaflets lanceolate, concolorous, not lobed, insertion angle obtuse
(45-80°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin
entire (no teeth); median leaflets 18-20 cm long, 14-20 mm wide.
Pollen cones 4-8, narrowly ovoid, green, 30-35 cm long, 8-12 cm diam.
Seed cones 4-8, ovoid, green, 35-45 cm long, 17-20 cm diam.
Seeds oblong, 35-40 mm long, 20-25 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow or