The Gymnosperm Database


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Encephalartos lebomboensis


Common names

Lebombo cycad, isiGqiki-somkhovu (Zulu) (Palmer & Pitman 1972).

Taxonomic notes


"It resembles E. natalensis, to which it is closely related, but according to Dr Dyer (1965) 'the leaves of E. lebomboensis are straighter, the base of the leaf stalk more densely prickled, and the leaflets narrower'. The middle leaflets are usually 1/2 to just under 1 inch (1.3-2.2 cm) broad, usually with prickles on the margins. One to 3 cones grow together, "apricot-yellow or dull salmon pink". The seeds are fairly smooth, in which they differ from those of E. natalensis, which are prominent and wrinkled" (Palmer & Pitman 1972).

Distribution and Ecology

Mozambique and South Africa: "on the Lebombo Mountains in the eastern Transvaal, in Zululand, and in Swaziland" (Palmer & Pitman 1972).

Big tree




Seattle's Volunteer Park Conservatory has one.


"This cycad grew in numbers in country due to be swamped by the waters of the new dam at Jozini across the Pongola River, and some thousands were removed to safety by the organization known as 'Operation Wild Flower'. ... The Zulu name means zombie's pillow" (Palmer & Pitman 1972).


See also

Jones (1993).

Last Modified 2017-12-29