Glossy, flat, dark green leaves, leaflets falcate, overlapping, with 2-6 or more teeth on the upper margins only, yellow cones, long-stalked pollen cones, cylindrical seed cones, red seeds

Plants arborescent; stem 2.5 m tall, 70 cm diam

Leaves 200-400 cm long, dark green, semiglossy, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis); straight, stiff, not spirally twisted; petiole straight; leaf-base collar not present

Leaflets lanceolate, weakly discolorous, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal to obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth), or heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 25-40 cm long, 30-40 mm wide.

Pollen cones 2-3, fusiform, yellow, 40-60 cm long, 10-12 cm diam

Seed cones 2-3, ovoid, yellow, 40-60 cm long, 15-16 cm diam

Seeds 30-40 mm long, 20-25 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow.

Distribution & Habitat

Southern Kenya, in closed to open evergreen cloud forest on steep mountain slopes of the Maungu Hills of the Taita-Taveta District. Natural occurrence is limited to a very small area.


The name for this species in the Taita language of the local people. Discovered in the 1960's by Robert Archer, and later discussed by Heenan (1977) and Goode (1985), although not formally described until 1989 by European botanists working in Central Africa -- Faden and Henk Beentje. It had been concurrently described as E. voiensis by Moretti et al. (1989), but this publication was a few months later.

References & Acknowledgements:

  • Image -
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney



Encephalartos kisambo
Encephalartos kisambo