Encephalartos barteri


The taproot of seedlings soon form sevral branches which end in smal firous roots. Also apogeotropic roots which grow upwards to form coralloid masses are common. The main root and often other roots are tuberous.

The stem of Barteri suckers vigorously and may contian as many as eight basal suckers. The stems are 30-40cm tall and 20-25cm in diameter. The stems are extremly fire resistant and show no sighnes of suffering after a fire. The stems are slow-growing.

The leaves are green and between 1.7m-2m long. Median leaflets are between 19cm and 28 cm long and 10cm to 25cm wide. The median leaflets reduce in size towards the rachis and end in a series of spine-like thorns.

The female produces between one and three cones per crown. Female cones are grren and oval shaped. They are 20-25cm long and 13-15cm in diameter. Male cones may be produced three at a time and are greenishglue. The range from between 19cm and 23cm tall standing on peduncles 6-8cm long.

The seeds are red and 2-3cm long and 1.8-2.3cm wide.

Distribution & Habitat

Barteri occurs in the southern districts of Lake Volta, 100 km from the coast of Ghana. It also occurs in Jebba in western Nigeria. Also there have been seen in Benin.

Cultivation & Propagation

Cycads produce male and female cones on separate plants and pollination is done through wind. Insects also play a role in pollination and weevils are the main pollinators. For pollination to take place the cone scales of the female cone must open (this happens for approx. 7 days) and the pollen then enters the cone.  


Described in 1868 by English botanist - Carruthers. Listed on CITES Appendix I.

This species was once thought of as E. barteri ssp. barteri with E. barteri ssp. allochrous. Allochrous was then classified as a species of its own and barteri had no other subspecies and thus became Encephalartos barteri.

References & Acknowledgements:

  • Goode D (2001) Cycads of Afica Volume I
    Goode D. (1989) Cycads of Africa.

  • Images - Jungle Music Palms



Encephalartos barteri