Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Encephalartos villosus

Encephalartos villosus Lem., "Ill. Hort. 14, misc.: 79; 15: t. 557" (1867). ?
TYPE: none cited; no plates.

Encephalartos villosus f. intermedia P. Hennings, "Gartenfl. 238 f. 2a, 5" (1890).

TYPE: the figures.

Etymology: Latin villosus, softly hairy.




Historical notes: Described in 1867 by Belgian botanist - Lem.

Distinguishing features: The subterranean habit with long arching leaves in the crown place this species with E. cerinus and E. umbeluziensis. It is distinguished within this group by the longer, arching leaves with leaflets bearing prickles on the upper and lower margins and the lower leaflets reducing to spines on the petiole, and the woolly crown.

Distribution and habitat: A common and widespread species extending from eastern Cape Province through Natal and into Swaziland, usually in scrub or forest understorey.

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


Plants acaulescent; stem 0.3 m tall, 30 cm diam.

Leaves 150-300 cm long, dark green, highly glossy, slightly keeled or flat in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 150-180° on rachis); rachis green, straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with 6-12 prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets linear or lanceolate, strongly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal; margins flat, or incurved; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 15-25 cm long, 15-20 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-8, narrowly ovoid, yellow, 50-70 cm long, 12-15 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-4, ovoid, yellow, 30-50 cm long, 20-25 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 25-30 mm long, 18-20 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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