|Photo Ken Hill
|The Cycad Pages
- Encephalartos senticosus Vorster, S. African J. Bot 62(2): 76-79 (1996). H—PRE
- "TYPE: Swaziland, north-east of Siteki in Mlawula Game Reserve, leaf and male sporophylls, P. Vorster 2990 (holo PRE iso K, LE, MO, FTG)."
Described in 1996 by South African botanist Piet Vorster. The occurrence
on the Lebombo Range led to the application of the name E. lebomboensis to
this species, although it has been known for many years that a distinctive
variant occurred to the west of this. It was recently shown that the type
of E. lebomboensis belonged to the western variant (Vorster 1995, and see
E. lebomboensis), and that the eastern populations lacked a name.
Within the green-leaved species of Natal Province, this species is
distinguished by the short, straight, keeled leaves often with recurved
tips and the lowermost 2-4 pairs of leaflets reducing to divided prickles
and leaving almost no bare petiole,the lack of woolly tomentum in the crown
around newly emerging leaves, the short, narrow, well-spaced, dentate
leaflets, the yellow cones with 3-4 male and 2-3 female cones per stem, the
usually stalked male cones and the raised pyramidal sporophyll apices. It
is distinguished from E. lebomboensis by the broader leaflets and
recurved leaf tips, and bright yellow to orange-yellow cones. Stems are
See also E. msinganus, another recently separated species
distinguished by the shorter, slightly broader leaflets and verrucose cone
Distribution and habitat: Northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa
and adjacent Swaziland, on rocky slopes or cliffs in dry shrubby scrub
along the Lebombo Range.
Not listed in the
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.
Plants arborescent; stem 4 m tall, 30 cm diam.
Leaves 110-180 cm long, dark green, highly glossy, moderately keeled
(opposing leaflets inserted at 135° on rachis); rachis yellowish,
straight, stiff or gently curved, somewhat lax, not spirally twisted; petiole
straight, with 1-6 prickles, spine-free for 5-20 cm; leaf-base collar not
present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.
Leaflets lanceolate, strongly discolorous, overlapping downwards or
not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle acute (less than 45°);
margins flat; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly
toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 8-18 cm long, 14-27 mm wide.
Pollen cones 3-4, narrowly ovoid, yellow, 30-60 cm long, 10 cm diam.
Seed cones 2-3, ovoid, yellow, 45 cm long, 22 cm diam.
Seeds oblong, sarcotesta red.