Stems of this species reach 8 feet tall, 12-18 inches in diameter. The rigid, erect leaves grow to 6-7 feet long, with 30-60 leaves flushing in each new whorl, recurving at the ends.

Plants arborescent; stem 2.5 m tall, 30-45 cm diam; 35-60 leaves in crown.

Leaves 190-220 cm long, dark green, semiglossy, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis); rachis green, straight, stiff or straight with last third sharply recurved, not spirally twisted; petiole straight, with 1-6 prickles, spine-free for 12-15 cm; leaf-base collar not present; basal leaflets reducing to spines.

Leaflets lanceolate, strongly discolorous, not overlapping, not lobed, insertion angle horizontal; margins flat; upper margin heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); lower margin entire (no teeth); median leaflets 19-25 cm long, 25-30 mm wide.

Pollen cones 6-14, narrowly ovoid, green, 18-20 cm long, 4.5-5 cm diam.

Seed cones 3, ovoid, green, 80 cm long, 30 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 32-36 mm long, 19-22 mm wide, sarcotesta orange.

Distribution & Habitat

E. macrostrobilus is found near Madi Opei, in the far northwest of Uganda, very near the Sudan border. It grows in poor, sandy soil along river beds in light shade, among granite boulders in a savannah environment. This cycad grows in a remote and rather dangerous locale, so, while it is probably not in danger of extinction, it is extremely hard to get to, and there may be other undiscovered populations of this plant yet to be discovered


Described in 1997 by South African horiculturists S. Jones and J. Wynants. Latin macros, large strobilus, a pine cone, in reference to the large cones. Population size is 300 mature individuals. Listed on CITES Appendix I.

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Encephalartos macrostrobilis