The Gymnosperm Database


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Encephalartos aemulans

Vorster 1990

Common names

Taxonomic notes

Related to E. natalensis and E. lebomboensis (Jones 1993).


Trunk erect to 3 m tall and 35 cm diameter; suckers produced from base. Mature leaves numerous in an obliquely erect to rounded crown. Leaves 1.2-2 m × 20-30 cm, dark green and glossy, flat in cross-section; petiole 10-12 cm long. Male and female cones nearly identical in shape, ellipsoid, densely covered with brown hairs. Male cones 29-38 cm × 14-18 cm, narrowly ellipsoid, lemon yellow. Female cones 35-40 cm × 20-23 cm, green. Seeds 2.5-3 cm × 1.5-2 cm, bright red (Jones 1993).

Distribution and Ecology

Restricted to a single hill in Natal at about 1000 m. The exact location has not been published to protect the plants from poachers. Plants grow on S-facing sandstone cliffs and scree. Climate seasonal with light frosts; rainfall 600-800 mm, summer maximum (Jones 1993).

Big tree

3 m tall × 35 cm diameter (Jones 1993).



Limited ornamental use; it was collected prior to description of the species (Jones 1993). Native peoples use other cycads in the area as a food source and may so use this species.



Two old male plants known from 10 km away (Jones 1993).


See also

Vorster, P. 1990. Encephalartos aemulans, a new species from northern Natal. South African Journal of Botany 56(2):239.

Last Modified 2017-12-29