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. The bluish-green leaves and leaflets with 3-6 spines on each margin distinguish this from other members of the group.

Plants arborescent; stem 1 m tall, 35 cm diam

Leaves 100-130 cm long, dark green or blue green, semiglossy, moderately keeled; 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 heavily toothed (more than 3 teeth); lower margin lightly toothed (1-3 teeth); median leaflets 12-15 cm long, 18-20 mm wide.

Pollen cones 1-6, narrowly ovoid, bluish-green, 40-65 cm long, 7-9 cm diam.

Seed cones 1-6, ovoid, blue-green, 40-50 cm long, 15-20 cm diam.

Seeds oblong, 25-30 mm long, 20-23 mm wide, sarcotesta red.

Distribution & Habitat

Open, rocky scrub central Mozambique. Only a single colony known. Light shade/full sun in the cool tropics/sub-tropics. Their natural habitat has very hot, wet summers, and cool, dry winters. Seedlings are easy to establish, but mature plants have proved virtually impossible to transplant.



Honoring R.C. Munch of Zimbabwe, well known student and collector of cycads. Described in 1969 by South African botanists R. Allen Dyer and Inez Verdoon, who separated the previously broadly defined E. manikensis into a number of segregates, primarily on differences in pollen cone morphology (see also E. concinnus, E. pterogonus and E. chimanimaniensis).

References & Acknowledgements:

  • Images - Ken Hill
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney



Encephalartos munchii