Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos laevifolius

Encephalartos laevifolius Stapf & Burtt Davy, Fl. Transvaal & Sw. 1: 40 & 99 (1926). H—K
"TYPE: loc. unknown, Todd s.n. (holo K)."

Etymology: Latin laevis, smooth and folius, leaf, in reference to the lack of tomentum in comparison to the related E. lanatus.




Historical notes: Described in 1926 by English botanists Otto Stapf and Joseph Burtt Davy.

Distinguishing features: The robust stems and relatively narrow entire leaflets emerging with a bluish tint and turning dark green with age place this species nearest to E. lanatus and E. friderici-guilielmi. It is distinguished from both by the straight and flat leaves and the almost smooth crowns, leaf-bases and cones.

Distribution and habitat: South-eastern Transvaal Province and north-eastern Natal, South Africa, and adjacent parts of Swaziland, in grassland or low shrubs on steep rocky slopes.

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


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

Leaves 150 cm long, blue or silver to blue green, dull, moderately keeled or slightly keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 90-150° on rachis); rachis yellowish, straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with no prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets not reducing to spines.

Leaflets linear, weakly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin entire (no teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 12-15 cm long, 5-7 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-6, ovoid, yellow, 30-40 cm long, 10 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-5, ovoid, yellow, 20-30 cm long, 15-20 cm diam.

Seeds ovoid, 25-27 mm long, 20-23 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow.

The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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