Photo Anders Lindstrom
The Cycad Pages
Cycas vespertilio

Cycas vespertilio A.J.Lindstr. & K.D.Hill, "Telopea 12(1):134–136, fig. 4 " (2008). H—LBC

Etymology: The specific epithet is from the Latin vespertilio, a bat, from vesper (evening), literally ‘the little one of the evening’, in reference to the wing-like extensions on the megasporophyll apex.

Historical notes: Although first collected in 1928 by Edaño, this taxon was not recognised as a distinct species until 2006.

Distinguishing features: The megasporophylls with two lateral wings distinguish this from all other Philippine cycads. The seeds are obovoid and somewhat dorsiventrally flattened.

Distribution and habitat: Philippines, hill forests of Panay, Negros, Cebu, Leyte, Samar and southernmost Luzon. Seasonally deciduous forest with Pterocarpus indicus and bamboo. Yellow clay overlying sandstone or volcanic cinders. Southwest facing slopes sometimes in full sun but more often in shaded situations.

Conservation status: Taking the wide distribution range in account the species is not under immediate threat. However, deforestation on Negros, Panay and Leyte is already extreme and little habitat is left. IUCN (2001) Red List status NT.
Photo Anders Lindstrom


Stems arborescent, to 1–3 m tall.

Leaves bright green, glossy, 128–210 cm long, flat (not keeled) in section, with 93–117 leaflets tomentum shedding as leaf expands; petiole 46–52 cm long, shedding brown tomentum, spinescent for 90–100% of length; basal leaflets not gradually reducing to spines, 180–200 mm long.

Median leaflets simple, not discolorous, keeled in transect, 270–290 mm long, 10–13 mm wide, narrowed to 2–3 mm at base, 10–14 mm apart on rachis; section flat; margins edged, or slightly recurved, undulate; apex acute, not spinescent; midrib raised above, raised below, narrow.

Cataphylls broadly triangular, stiff, pilose, 55–60 mm long.

Pollen cones not seen.

Megasporophylls 17–19 cm long, cream-tomentose, tomentum not shedding; ovules 6–7, glabrous; lamina rhomboid, winged, 160–180 mm long, 32–35 mm wide, lateral spines 2, broad, flattened & wing-like; apical spine distinct from lateral spines, 35–38 mm long, 3–5 mm wide at base.

Seeds obovoid, c.36 mm long, 27 mm wide; fibrous layer absent; sclerotesta smooth; spongy endotesta present, thin.

The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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