Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos kisambo

Encephalartos kisambo Faden & Beentje, Utafiti 2: 7-10 (1989). H—K
"TYPE: Kenya, Maungu Hills, Taita - Taveta district, alt ca 900 m, 28 Mar 1970, R.B. & A.J. Faden, C. & N. Smeenk & D. Kichoi 71/965 (holo K iso BR, EA, MO, PRE, UPS, US, WAG)."

Etymology: The name for this species in the Taita language of the local people.




Historical notes: Discovered in the 1960's by Robert Archer, and later discussed by Heenan (1977) and Goode (1985), although not formally described until 1989 by European botanists working in Central Africa -- Faden and Henk Beentje. It had been concurrently described as E. voiensis by Moretti et al. (1989), but this publication was a few months later.

Distinguishing features: Glossy, flat, dark green leaves, leaflets falcate, overlapping, with 2-6 or more teeth on the upper margins only, yellow cones, long-stalked pollen cones, cylindrical seed cones, red seeds.

Distribution and habitat: Southern Kenya, in closed to open evergreen cloud forest on steep mountain slopes of the Maungu Hills of the Taita-Taveta District. Natural occurrence is limited to a very small area.

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


Plants arborescent; stem 2.5 m tall, 70 cm diam.

Leaves 200-400 cm long, dark green, semiglossy, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis); straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight; leaf-base collar not present.

Leaflets lanceolate, weakly discolorous, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal to obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth), or heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 25-40 cm long, 30-40 mm wide.

Pollen cones 2-3, fusiform, yellow, 40-60 cm long, 10-12 cm diam.

Seed cones 2-3, ovoid, yellow, 40-60 cm long, 15-16 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 30-40 mm long, 20-25 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow.

The Cycad Pages

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