From Gardenology.org - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Encephalartos (Greek combination, alluding to the bread-like interior of the trunk). Cycadaceae. Excellent cycads from tropical and southern Africa, grown chiefly for their evergreen foliage.

The species are probably 20 or more, allied to Dioon and Macrozamia; with Stangeria, they constitute the peculiarly African representatives of the family. They are trees with stout cylindrical often fleshy trunks, and a terminal crown of stiff mostly spiny pinnate long Lvs. or fronds: fls. dioecious, in cones; staminate cone oblong, ovoid or cylindrical, the scales in many series, imbricate, thick and often rough, broadly or elongate-cuneate, with anthers on the under surface; pistillate cone ellipsoid or oblong, thick, the scales numerous in many series and imbricated, peltate, with the ovule beneath. For differences between this and related genera, see Vol. I, p. 120. From Dioon it is distinguished by its pinnate rather than pinnatifid Lvs., and from Cycas by straight rather than circinnate segms. in vernation, as well as by technical features of cones. These plants are specially suited for large conservatories, the fronds being not easily injured. They should succeed outdoors S. The trunks of some kinds grow only a few inches in many years. Most kinds prefer a sunny, tropical house, but E. brachyphyllus and perhaps others may be grown in a cool greenhouse if kept a little dry in winter. The cones are always interesting and often very decorative. Those of E. villosus are twice as large as a pineapple, orange-yellow, half revealing the scarlet frs. They are prop. by seeds; also by offsets or suckers. Some other cycads frequently produce seed in conservatories, but Encephalartos seldom does, and plants are, therefore, usually imported. Dry trunks, weighing frequently 50-75 lbs. have been received from S. Afr. They often remain dormant for a year or more, and do not make ornamental specimens for two or more years. They are slow-growing, except in very warm houses. They like a strong, loamy soil. While making new growth they need plenty of water. See Cycas.

The woolliness of the stem and leaf-segments varies with the age of the plants and of the leaves. The pith and central portion of the cones of some species form an article of food among the Kafirs, hence the common name of Kafir bread. The most widely known species in cultivation are E. villosus, E. Altensteinii and E. pungens. Though very handsome cyads, they are by no means popular. They require much room for best results.

In the following descriptions "rachis" refers to the midrib of the leaf on which the leaflets or segments are borne, and "petiole" means the part of the leaf below where the leaflets begin.

E. Barteri, Carr. St. short, about 1 ft. high and to 9 in. diam.: Lvs. to 5 or 6 ft. long, and 10 in. broad, erect or suberect; petiole and rachis with a gray tomentum that falls off; lfts. about 80 pairs, linear-lanceolate, sharp at the apex, few-toothed: male cone to 9 in. long, pale: female cone about 8 in. long, oblong-ellipsoid, dark olive. W. Trop. Afr. B.M. 8232.—E. Ghellinckii, Lem. Spineless: trunk stout, woolly-scaly: Lvs. 3—4 ft., erect-spreading; pinnae very narrow-linear, densely tomentose. S. Afr. I.H. 15:567.—E. HU- debrandtii, A. Br. & Bouche. Trunk cylindrical: Lvs. pinnate, with numerous lanceolate toothed pinnae which become 3-parted scales toward the end of the lf., woody at least at first. Trop. Afr. G.C. III. 27:120. R.B. 29:196. G.W. 10, p. 210. An attractive species.—E. Laurentianus, Wildem. Large, the st. reaching 30 ft. or more and 2H ft. diam.: Lvs. often over 20 ft. long; lower Ifts. small, 3-toothed; middle lfts. lanceolate, 12-16 in. long and 2 in. broad, spiny on both edges and at the apex. Congo. G.C. III. 35: 370. Named for Professor Laurent.—E. Lemarinelianus, Wildem. & Dur. St. 3-7 ft.: Lvs. to 3 ft. or more: petiole shaggy; lfts. 1860 on each side, rigid, coriaceous, glaucous, lanceolate, the edge slightly recurved, more or less spiny: male cone greenish, subcylindrical; female cone thick, green turning to salmon-color, short- peduncled, the scales triangular. Congo. Named for Capt. Lemarinel. G.C. III. 35:371. R.H. 1904, p. 59.—E. Woodii, Hort. Allied to E. Altensteinii: st. 18 in. high and 8 in. thick, bearing about 25 Lvs. which are gracefully curved and reach 5 ft.: lfts. 8 in. long and 2 in. broad, spiny-toothed, the broadest ones pinnatifid. Zululand. G.C. III. 43:282. R.B. 34, p. 193. L. H. B.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Fossil range: {{{fossil_range}}}
Encephalartos lebomboensis
Encephalartos lebomboensis
Plant Info
Common name(s): {{{common_names}}}
Growth habit: {{{growth_habit}}}
Height: {{{high}}}
Width: {{{wide}}}
Lifespan: {{{lifespan}}}
Exposure: {{{exposure}}}
Water: {{{water}}}
Features: {{{features}}}
Poisonous: {{{poisonous}}}
Hardiness: {{{hardiness}}}
USDA Zones: {{{usda_zones}}}
Sunset Zones: {{{sunset_zones}}}
Scientific classification
Domain: {{{domain}}}
Superkingdom: {{{superregnum}}}
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: {{{subregnum}}}
Superdivision: {{{superdivisio}}}
Superphylum: {{{superphylum}}}
Division: Cycadophyta
Phylum: {{{phylum}}}
Subdivision: {{{subdivisio}}}
Subphylum: {{{subphylum}}}
Infraphylum: {{{infraphylum}}}
Microphylum: {{{microphylum}}}
Nanophylum: {{{nanophylum}}}
Superclass: {{{superclassis}}}
Class: Cycadopsida
Sublass: {{{subclassis}}}
Infraclass: {{{infraclassis}}}
Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Cycadales
Suborder: {{{subordo}}}
Infraorder: {{{infraordo}}}
Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Zamiaceae
Subfamily: {{{subfamilia}}}
Supertribe: {{{supertribus}}}
Tribe: {{{tribus}}}
Subtribe: {{{subtribus}}}
Genus: Encephalartos
Subgenus: {{{subgenus}}}
Section: {{{sectio}}}
Series: {{{series}}}
Species: {{{species}}}
Subspecies: {{{subspecies}}}
Binomial name
Trinomial name
Type Species
See text.
Geographical distribution of genus Encephalartos
Geographical distribution of genus Encephalartos

Encephalartos is a genus of cycad native to Africa. Several species of Encephalartos are commonly referred to as bread palms or Kaffir bread since a bread-like starchy food can be prepared from the centre of the stem. All the species of Encephalartos are endangered. The genus name is derived from the Greek words en (within), kephali (head), and artos (bread), referring to the use of the pith to make food. Named by German botanist J.G.C. (Johann Georg Christian) Lehmann in 1834. All cycads except Cycas had been regarded as members of the genus Zamia until then, and some botanists continued to follow this line for many years after Lehmann had separated Encephalartos as a separate genus. His concept was originally much broader than ours today, including also the Australian plants we now know as Macrozamia and Lepidozamia. [1]



  1. Alice Notten (May 2002). "Encephalartos woodii Sander". Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and South African National Biodiversity Institute. Retrieved on 2006-11-16.


List of Southern African indigenous trees

List of African Cycads[1]Template:Tree-stub

Cycad Society of South Africa[2]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share