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Encephalartos Septentrionalis

DescriptionCycads World

A medium sized cycad usually with a subterranean trunk or with a very short procumbent or reclining trunk to 2.5 m long and 75 cm diameter, growing in clumps of 2 or 3 stems, with suckers produced sparsely from the base.

Mature Leaves

10 - 25, obliquely erect to spreading, forming a straggly to dense crown, 1 - 1.5 m long, light green, flat in cross-section, straight in profile, arising at about 70 degrees from the trunk.

Male Cones

8 - 15 per steam, 20 - 22 x 6 - 8 cm, narrowly ovate-cylindrical to ellipsoid, emerging erect, becoming drooping or pendulous.

Female Cones

1 - 4 per stem, 30 - 35 x 18 - 20 cm, ovoid, green becoming yellowish brown, emerging erect but becoming drooping or pendulous by maturity.

Seeds

2.3 - 3.5 x 1.6 - 2.5 cm, oblong, angular, the sarcotesta bright red to dark red.

Distribution and Habitat

Occurs in northern Uganda and southern Sudan, where it grows among rocks in sparse forest and grass on slopes and plateaux of mountain ranges at about 1200 m altitude. Fires are frequent. The climate is tropical, with hot, humid summers and mild winters.

Notes

Although described as early as 1871, E. septentrionalis still remains poorly known because the original description of the species was very vague and no-one has studied the plants at the type locality (Gumango Hill in southern Sudan) since their discovery by Schweinfurth.

Similar Species

E. macrostrobilus has a longer trunk, many more leaves in the crown, much larger olive green female cones and yellow seeds.

Cultivation

Suited to tropical and subtropical regions. Poorly known in cultivation. Plants will grown in full sun or filtered sun. Requires excellent drainage. Frost-tolerance is unlikely to be very high. Propagation from seed and by removal of basal suckers.

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