Author: David Becking

Drypetes natalensis

General Info This Tree is up to 15m high.  The margins of the large simple Leaves have spines.  Dioecious, yellow or greenish Flowers that lack petals develop directly on the trunk and branches.  Fruit is a wrinkled berry. Description Drypetes natalensis, Cyclostemon natalensis. RSA Tree No. 329.3. Common names: Natal Ironplum, Stem-fruit Ironplum;, Natal drypetes, Stem-fruit drypetes. Family: Putranjivaceae (was Euphorbiaceae) has 3 distinct genera containing at least 210 species.  The local genera are: Sibangae, Putranjiva and Drypetes.  Leaves are coriaceous and 2-ranked.  Young leaves are peppery due to sulphur containing chemicals.  The usually small unisexual Flowers are in a condensed...

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Encephalartos lehmannii

General Info Tree up to 2m high.  Trunk: stern, sturdy.  Pinnately compound silver blue to green Leaves up to 1,5m.  Solitary dioecious Cones are greenish.  Barrel-shaped female cones up to 50 x 25cm.  The red Seeds are up to 5 x 2cm. Description Encephalartos lehmannii. RSA Tree No. 8.1. Common names: Karoo Cycad, Bread Palm, Bushman’s River Cycad. Family:  Zamiaceae. This is a family of perennial cycads with 8 genera and about 200 species.  They are only superficially palm or fern like.  The cycad tap Root is soon replaced by lateral roots, which become woody.  Cycads have coralloid roots that contain...

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Encephalartos dyerianus

General Info This dioecious Tree is up to 4m high and may sucker from the base.  Compound Leaves are pinnately compound.  The lowermost leaflets reduced to prickles.  4-7 male and 1-5 mature female Cones become yellow.  Seeds up to 4,5 x 3cm. Description Encephalartos dyerianus, Encephalartos graniticolus. RSA Tree No. 14.2 Common names: Lillie’s Cycad; Lillie-se-broodboom. Family: Zamiaceae.  This is a family of perennial cycads has 8 genera and about 200 species.  They are only superficially palm or fern like.  The cycad tap Root is soon replaced by lateral roots, which become woody.  Cycads have coralloid roots that contain symbiotic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that fix atmospheric nitrogen in association with root tissue and produce important amino acids for the plant.  Stems are cylindrical and southern African species do not have persistent leaf bases.  All are evergreen with pinnately compound Leaves.  The Leaflets have parallel (or nearly so) veins. Name derivation. Encephalartos – within-head-bread: referring to the starchy bread that can be made from the pith of the inner trunk. The genus Encephalartos includes some of the most primitive living Gymnosperms.  Unlike other members of the family Zamiaceae, species in the genus Encephalartos have leaflets that lack a central Midrib (vein).  Diamond shaped leaf scars remain on the trunk.  The hard prickly leaflets do not bend easily.  The sunken leaf veins are parallel or almost so.  Stomata (structure utilising 2 guard cells which, unlike...

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Encephalartos kisambo

General Info This endangered Cycad grows up to 3,5m high.  Leaves are pinnately compound – up to 3,5m long.  Dioecious Cones: Female cones are up to 60 x 16cm.  Up to 6 male cones produced annually.  The fleshy Testa (seed coat) is yellow. Description Encephalartos kisambo, E. voiensis. RSA Tree No. n/a: Not found in the RSA. Common name: Voi cycad. Family:  Zamiaceae. This is a family of perennial cycads has 8 genera and about 200 species.  They are only superficially palm or fern like.  The cycad tap Root is usually soon replaced by lateral roots, which become woody.  Cycads...

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Encephalartos paucidentatus

General Info This Cycad may reach 7m high.  Pinnately compound Leaves have parallel veins.  Widely spaced leaflets reduced to spines near leaf base.  Dioecious Tree.  1-5 smaller hairy Male Cones with motile sperm.  1-5 Female Cones up to 50 x 25cm produce large red Seeds. Description Encephalartos paucidentatus. RSA Tree No. 11. Family: Zamiaceae.  This family of perennial cycads has 8 genera and about 200 species.  They are only superficially palm or fern like.  The cycad tap Root is soon replaced by lateral roots, which become woody.  Cycads have coralloid roots that contain symbiotic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that fix atmospheric...

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