A member of the E. manikensis complex, a group of robust cycads from the region of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border with stout erect trunks of medium height, leaves with short petioles and numerous reduced spine-like leaflets, median leaflets with 1-6 spines on each margin, green cones and red seed-coats. Pollen cones are similar to seed cones, with scales that are thicker than those of E. concinnus, lack the curving seen in E. chimanimaniensis and lack the wings of E. pterogonus.

Plants arborescent; stem 1.5 m tall, 30 cm diam.

Leaves 100-200 cm long, dark green, highly glossy, moderately keeled; rachis green, gently curved, somewhat lax, not spirally twisted; 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 horizontal; margins flat; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 12-15 cm long, 20-25 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-4, ovoid to narrowly ovoid, green, 22-60 cm long, 7-15 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-4, ovoid, green, 32-50 cm long, 14-18 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 30-36 mm long, 18-25 mm wide, sarcotesta red.

Distribution & Habitat

Zimbabwe and Mozambique, highlands of the Mapande Range, often around granite outcrops. A number of isolated populations occur, each usually sufficiently distinctive to be recognisable (see Osborne 1994)


manikensis: named after the Manica districts of eastern Zimbabwe and western Mozambique where this sp. occurs. Discovered in 1937 and described in 1938 by South African botanist Hamish Boyd Gilliland as a variety of the Kenyan species E. gratus, and raised by the same author to the status of species the year after. The broadly defined E. manikensis was later separated into a number of segregates (Dyer & Verdoon 1969), primarily on differences in pollen cone morphology (see also E. concinnus, E. munchii, E. pterogonus and E. chimanimaniensis).

References & Acknowledgements:

  • Images - Ken Hill and DCH Plowes
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney



Encephalartos manikensis
Encephalartos manikensis
Encephalartos manikensis