Encephalartos horridus (Jacq.) Lehm., Nov. Stirp. Pug. 6: 14 1834. (syn: Encephalartos nanus Lehm.; Encephalartos van-hallii de Vriese; Zamia aurea Miq. [Invalid]; Zamia gleina Miq. [Invalid]; Zamia horrida Jacq.; Zamia nana Miq. [Invalid]; Zamia tricuspidata auct.);
 
 


The Eastern Cape Blue Cycad (Encephalartos horridus)[2] is a small, low-growing cycad up to 0.9m (3 ft) high and 0.9m (3 ft) wide.[3] It is a native of Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, and found in arid shrublands, most commonly on ridges and slopes with shallow soils.

The species is particularly known for its distinctly blue-gray leaves, although the degree of coloration can vary significantly.[4]
 
The species name horridus is Latin for ‘bristly’, after the plant’s stiff, spiny leaflets.[4]
 

Mature plants have big stems of between 0.5-1m (20-50 inches) in length and 20-30cm (8-12 inches) in diameter[5] with the majority of the stem growing below ground.[3] Leaves are up to 1m (50 inches) long and often sharply recurved towards the tip, looking stiff and spiny.[4] Younger leaves are a silvery-blue colour but turn green with age.[5]

Cones are usually brownish- or blackish-red and single with a dense layer of fine hair. Both male and female cones are produced. The female cone is egg-shaped and up to 40cm (16 inches) long and 20cm (8 inches) in diameter while the male cone is largely cylindrical narrowing towards the ends up to 40 cm long (16 inches) and 12cm (5 inches) in diameter. Seeds are roughly triangular with three flattened surfaces.[5]

In the wild there is evidence of distinct variation within the species, including a possible ‘dwarf’ form found around Port Elizabeth.[5]

(From  Wikipedia on 14.12.13) 


 

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Encephalartos horridus

Native of Eastern Cape South Africa, Photographed from University of California Botanical Garden.


 
 
 
 
 

References:

The Plant List  WCSP Wikipedia
 

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