Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos inopinus

Encephalartos inopinus R.A. Dyer, Bothalia 8(2): 169-170 (1964). H—PRE
"TYPE: Republic of South Africa, Transvaal Province, Lydenburg District, Kromellenboog, about 1 mile east of asbestos mine, R.A. Dyer 5788 (holo PRE iso B)."

Etymology: Latin opinus, expected, with the modifying prefix in-, not.



Historical notes: Although first discovered in 1955, this species was not described until 1964 by South African botanist R. Allen Dyer.

Distinguishing features: A taxonomically isolated species that is not readily confused with any other. The spreading crown of flat, bluish leaves with well-spaced, entire, broad-based leaflets that droop away from the rachis are immediately distinctive.

Distribution and habitat: Eastern Transvaal Province, South Africa, in skeletal or no soil, on steep to precipitous slopes in gorges on dolomites.

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


Plants arborescent; stem 3 m tall, 15-25 cm diam.

Leaves 100-150 cm long, blue or silver, semiglossy, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis); rachis yellowish, straight, stiff, slightly twisted in some leaves; petiole straight, with no prickles; leaf-base collar prominent; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, concolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal; margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 14-20 cm long, 8-10 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, narrowly ovoid, green, 18-25 cm long, 6-8 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-2, ovoid, green, 30-35 cm long, 15-20 cm diam.

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

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sy dney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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