Plants arborescent; stem 1.8 m tall, 45 cm diam.

Leaves 100-150 cm long, light or bright green, highly glossy, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis); straight, stiff, slightly twisted in some leaves; petiole straight, with 1-6 prickles; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, weakly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 12-18 cm long, 20-25 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, fusiform, green, 50-70 cm long, 8-10 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 40-45 cm long, 18-20 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 20-30 mm long, 15-20 mm wide, sarcotesta red.

Distribution & Habitat

Known only from the Chimanimani Mountains on the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique in grassland on granite mountains

Cultivation & Propagation

Not Known.


Common name: Ronga—chipissana; Ronga & Shona—untopani (palm-like plant); Shona—unguarara (dwarf plant); Tsonga—chihanga (vegetable coal). Source: M. Bonta & R. Osborne. Conservation status is Endangered. Described in 1969 by South African botanists R. Allen Dyer and Inez Verdoon, who separated the previously broadly defined E. manikensis into a number of segregates, primarily on differences in pollen cone morphology (see also E. concinnus, E. pterogonus and E. munchii).

References & Acknowledgements:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

  • Image - Michael Gray



Encephalartos chimanimaniensis