Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos cupidus

Encephalartos cupidus R.A. Dyer, Bothalia 10(2): 379-383 (1971). H—PRE
"TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Transvaal Province, Pilgrims Rest Div., cultivated at White River, D. van Heerden PRE 30546 (holo PRE)."

Etymology: Latin cupidus, desirable, from the striking form of the plant, thought by the author to render it desirable to cycad collectors.




Historical notes: Described in 1971 by South African botanist R. Allen Dyer.

Distinguishing features: A dwarf species with little or no clear stem, readily recognised by the short, keeled, twisted blue leaves with well-spaced leaflets bearing 3-6 slender spines on both margins, and the lower 2-3 pairs reducing to prickles on the very short petiole. The similar E. nubimontanus is a larger, often arborescent plant with longer, often recurved leaves.

Distribution and habitat: A restricted species known from a small area in eastern Transvaal Privince, South Africa, in open grassy situations on steep to precipitous rocky slopes or cliffs.

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


Plants acaulescent; stem 0.15 m tall, 15 cm diam.

Leaves 100 cm long, blue or silver, dull, strongly keeled or moderately keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 50-100° on rachis); rachis blue, straight with last third sharply recurved, slightly twisted in some leaves; petiole straight, with 1-6 prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, concolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal; margins flat; upper margin heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); lower margin heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); median leaflets 10-15 cm long, 10-12 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 18-20 cm long, 5-8 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-2, ovoid, green, 18-20 cm long, 12-14 cm diam.

Seeds ovoid, 20-25 mm long, 15-20 mm wide, sarcotesta orange or yellow.

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sy dney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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