Encephalartos bubalinus


It is a medium-sized suckering cycad whose trunk grows to about 7 feet tall, developing 6 or more stems over time. Its dark green, glossy leaves grow to over 5 feet long. Cones green; pollen cones almost sessile; seed cones stalked; leaflets rounded or obuse with a fine projection at the tip.

Plants arborescent; stem 2 m tall, 45 cm diam.

Leaves 60-160 cm long, light or bright green, semiglossy, slightly keeled (opposing leaflets inserted at 120-160° on rachis); rachis green, straight, stiff, 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 obtuse (45-80°); margins flat; upper margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); lower margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 10-20 cm long, 10-20 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 11-22 cm long, 5-6 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-3, ovoid, green, 25-30 cm long, 15-18 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 35-40 mm long, 20-25 mm wide, sarcotesta yellow


Distribution & Habitat

E. bubalinus occurs only in East Africa - Kenya and Tanzania (Northern Tanzania and southern Kenya). It grows in Grasslands on rocky slopes on shallow soils over sandstone.

Cultivation & Propagation

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets) From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium.


Latin bubalinus buff, from the buff-brown tomentum on the cataphylls and leaf bases. Listed on CITES Appendix I. Described in 1957 by English botanist Melville

References & Acknowledgements:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

  • Image -



Encephalartos bubalinus