The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos ituriensis

Encephalartos ituriensis Bamps & Lisowski, Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 57: 152-155 (1990). H—BR
"TYPE: Zaire, Mt Mukonza, near Nduye, border of rainforest, S. Lisowski 42909 (holo BR, iso POZG)."

Etymology: From the Ituri forest, ? north-eastern Zaire, with the Latin termination -ensis, place of origin.




Historical notes: Described in 1990 by Belgian botanists -- Bamps and -- Lisowski.

Distinguishing features: A large plant with glossy dark green stiff leaves and well-spaced falcate, dentate leaflets straight or curving towards the leaf apex, with more than 3 teeth on each margin and a single spine on the tip, yellow cones, long-stalked pollen coned and red seeds. The leaves are similar to E. equatorialis, but the leaflets of the latter are very thick, falcate and curving away from the leaf apex, overlapping upwards (incubous) and with one spine on the tips. E. hildebrandtii is also similar, but the leaflets are thinner, falcate and curving away from the leaf apex, overlapping downwards (succubous) and with 3 spines on the tips.

Distribution and habitat: North-eastern Zaire, in grassland or low shrubs on slopes on granite domes.

Conservation: Not listed in the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.


Plants arborescent; stem 6 m tall, 50 cm diam.

Leaves 200-300 cm long, dark green, flat (not keeled) in section, (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis); straight, stiff or gently curved, somewhat lax, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with 1-6 prickles or 6-12 prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, weakly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal or obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); lower margin heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); median leaflets 20-25 cm long, 25-30 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-4, narrowly ovoid, green or yellow or brown, 20-26 cm long, 5-7 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-2, ovoid, green or yellow or brown, 18-20 cm long, 10-12 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 25-35 mm long, 15-25 mm wide, sarcotesta red.

The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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