Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos ferox

Encephalartos ferox Bertol. f., Mem. Reale Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna 3: 264 (1851). ?
TYPE: none cited. Locality given as interior of Mozambique.

Photo Ken Hill

Etymology: Latin ferox, fierce, from the stiff and sharply spiny leaflets.




Historical notes: Described in 1851 by Portugese botanist -- Bertolucci.

Distinguishing features: The bright orange-red cones are unique to this species, and the broad leaflets with lobes on both margins are also unique and unmistakable.

Distribution and habitat: Northern Natal Province, South Africa, and southern Mozambique, in habitats ranging from closed evergreen forest to dense shrubland, on deep sands of old beach dune systems.

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


Plants arborescent, or acaulescent; stem 1 m tall, 25-30 cm diam.

Leaves 100-200 cm long, dark green, highly glossy, slightly keeled to flat in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 150-180° on rachis); rachis green, gently curved, somewhat lax, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with 1-6 prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets ovate, strongly discolorous, overlapping downwards or not overlapping, with 2-3 lobes on most leaflets, insertion angle horizontal or obtuse (45-80°); margins flat, or incurved; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 15 cm long, 35-50 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-10, fusiform, red, 40-50 cm long, 8-10 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-5, ovoid, red, 25-50 cm long, 20-40 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 45-50 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
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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