Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos princeps

Encephalartos princeps R.A. Dyer, "J. S. African Bot. 31(2): 111-112, pl. 19" (1965). H—PRE
"TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Cape Province, Queenstown Div.; Swart Kei valley, among doleritic rocks on lower hill slopes, with E. fridericii-guilielmi, 2,300-2,600 ft, Galpin 8090 (holo PRE)."

Etymology: Latin princeps, primary or first, from the authors perception that this was the first in an evolutionary sequence leading eventually to E. ?horridus.




Historical notes: Described in 1965 by South African botanist R. Allen Dyer.

Distinguishing features: The entire, closely crowded and overlapping leaflets distinguish this species from other blue-leaved species of the eastern Cape Province, as do the dark green, more or less glabrous cones with verrucose terminal sporophyll facets. The blue-leaved species of the Cape Province have discolorous leaves with stomata on the undersurfaces only, in contrast to the blue-leaved species of Transvaal, which all have stomata on both surfaces of the leaflets.

Distribution and habitat: Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, in arid low succulent shrubland on rocky ridges and slopes. E. princeps occurs mainly on dolerite, in contrast to the very similar E. lehmannii, occurring on sandstone formations.

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


Plants arborescent; stem 4 m tall, 30-40 cm diam.

Leaves 100-130 cm long, blue or silver, dull, strongly keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 50-90° on rachis); rachis blue, straight with last third sharply recurved, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with no prickles; leaf-base collar prominent; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, weakly discolorous, overlapping upwards, not lobed, insertion angle acute (less than 45°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 15 cm long, 15 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 20-25 cm long, 8-10 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 30-40 cm long, 20-25 cm diam. Verrucose.

Seeds oblong, 35-40 mm long, 15-20 mm wide, sarcotesta red.

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sy dney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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