From the rounded seeds.
Cycas spherica was first mentioned by Roxburgh in 1814, and formally
described in by him 1832. No type was cited, although reference was made in
the description to plants in cultivation in the botanic gardens in Calcutta,
which were said to have been introduced from the Moluccas in 1798-9.
Cycas sphaerica is not known from there, although much of the
description clearly applies to this species. Roxburgh had evidently confused
plants of C. spherica (at the time included in C. circinalis)
and C. rumphii (which had not been
described at that time) that were growing in the gardens, and his description
under the former name actually applies to the latter species. His description
of C. sphaerica correspondingly applies mainly to the element
cultivated as C. circinalis. Roxburgh did not retain a personal
herbarium, but distributed his collections to other botanists. Roxburgh
specimens thus do not always bear the names eventually published by him
(Sealy 1957). Two Roxburgh collections from the Calcutta gardens now in BM
represent C. sphaerica and C. rumphii respectively. The latter
is annotated `C. circinalis', and the former bears only the annotation
`C. planifolia Solander MS.'
This taxon was also described in 1924 as a variety of the closely-related
by English forester Henry Haselfoot Haines (1867-1945), forester
in India from 1888-1919, becoming Conservator of Forests for India.
No type was cited, but Haines stated `Wild in the hill forests
of the Mals of Puri, especially on the tops of ridges with heavy
rainfall ! extending to Angul, in open forest, where it is less
common ! Fl. July-Aug'. Haines' practise was to add the `!' when
he had seen the plant in the wild in that locality, and does not
always record the existence of a specimen.
This species is similar to C. circinalis in most respects, differing
in the broader megasporophyll apex with longer teeth.
The megasporophylls are somewhat intermediate between those of C.
circinalis and those of C. pectinata Ham., which also shares the
fibrous sarcotesta condition.
this taxon on the basis of a divided microsporophyll apex, but this does
not appear to be consistent.
Distribution and habitat:
Cycas sphaerica is from the Eastern Ghats in
eastern peninsular India, in dry forests and woodlands
on hills. It apparently ranges from near Madras north into
Orissa at least as far as Bhubaneshwar.
Red List status DD.