is a genus of cycad
Cycads are seed plants typically characterized by a stout and woody trunk with a crown of large, hard and stiff, evergreen leaves. They usually have pinnate leaves. The individual plants are either all male or all female . Cycads vary in size from having a trunk that is only a few centimeters...
native to Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...
. Several species of Encephalartos
are commonly referred to as bread palms
, bread tree
or Kaffir bread
since a bread-like starchy food can be prepared from the centre of the stem. All the species of Encephalartos
are endangered. The genus name is derived from the Greek
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...
(head), and artos
(bread), referring to the use of the pith
Pith, or medulla, is a tissue in the stems of vascular plants. Pith is composed of soft, spongy parenchyma cells, which store and transport nutrients throughout the plant. In eudicots, pith is located in the center of the stem. In monocots, it extends also into flowering stems and roots...
to make food. They are, in evolutionary terms, one of the most primitive living gymnosperms.
The genus was named by German botanist Johann Georg Christian Lehmann
Johann Georg Christian Lehmann was a German botanist.Born at Haselau, near Uetersen, Holstein, Lehmann studied medicine in Copenhagen and Göttingen, obtained a doctorate in medicine in 1813 and a doctorate in philosophy from he University of Jena in 1814...
in 1834. All cycads except Cycas
Cycas is the type genus and the only genus currently recognised in the cycad family Cycadaceae. About 95 species are currently accepted. The best-known species is Cycas revoluta, widely cultivated under the name "Sago Palm" or "King Sago Palm" due to its palm-like appearance although it is not a...
had been regarded as members of the genus Zamia
Zamia is a genus of cycad of the family Zamiaceae, containing around 50 species, native to North, Central and South America. Species occur as far north as Georgia in the United States to as far south as Bolivia Zamia is a genus of cycad of the family Zamiaceae, containing around 50 species, native...
until then, and some botanists continued to follow this line for many years after Lehmann had separated Encephalartos
as a separate genus. His concept was originally much broader than the one accepted today, including also the Australian plants we now know as Macrozamia
Macrozamia is a genus of 38-40 species of cycads, in the family Zamiaceae, endemic to Australia. The majority of the species occur in eastern Australia in southeast Queensland and New South Wales, with one species in the Macdonnell Ranges of Northern Territory and three in southern Western...
Lepidozamia is a genus of two species of cycad, native to Australia. The name, derived from the Greek word lepidos, meaning scaly, refers to the scale-like structure of the stem and leaf bases. They are native to rainforest climates in eastern Queensland and eastern New South Wales...
- Encephalartos aemulans
- Encephalartos altensteinii
Encephalartos altensteinii is a palm-like cycad in the family Zamiaceae. It is endemic to South Africa. The species name altensteinii commemorates Altenstein, a 19th century German chancellor and patron of science. It is commonly known as the breadtree, broodboom, eastern Cape giant cycad or uJobane...
- Encephalartos aplanatus
- Encephalartos arenarius
- Encephalartos barteri
- Encephalartos brevifoliolatus
Encephalartos brevifoliolatus is a cycad in the African genus Encephalartos. It is extinct in the wild....
- Encephalartos bubalinus
- Encephalartos caffer
Eastern Cape dwarf cycad is a rare cycad from the genus Encephalartos. It typically has an underground stem, with a small portion on top, the stem is only very rarely branched and may be as much as 40 cm long. Emerging from the top are long, pinnate, dark green leaves up to long...
- Encephalartos cerinus
- Encephalartos chimanimaniensis
- Encephalartos concinnus
- Encephalartos cupidus
- Encephalartos cycadifolius
- Encephalartos delucanus
- Encephalartos dolomiticus
- Encephalartos dyerianus
- Encephalartos equatorialis
- Encephalartos eugene-maraisii
- Encephalartos ferox
Encephalartos ferox, a member of the family Zamiaceae, is a small cycad with 35 cm wide subterranean trunk. It gets its name from the Latin word ferocious, likely from the spine-tipped lobes on the leaves of the plant. It is found naturally on the south-eastern coast of Africa where it has...
- Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi
- Encephalartos ghellinckii
- Encephalartos gratus
- Encephalartos heenanii
- Encephalartos hildebrandtii
- Encephalartos hirsutus
- Encephalartos horridus
The Eastern Cape Blue Cycad is a small, low-growing cycad up to 0.9m high and 0.9m wide. It is a native of Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, and found in arid shrublands, most commonly on ridges and slopes with shallow soils...
- Encephalartos humilis
- Encephalartos inopinus
- Encephalartos ituriensis
Encephalartos ituriensis is a palm-like cycad of the family Zamiaceae. It is native to the grassland on two large granite monadnocks of the Ituri forest area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its IUCN conservation status is "Near Threatened."-Description:This cycad grows to 6 metres tall...
- Encephalartos kisambo
- Encephalartos laevifolius
- Encephalartos lanatus
- Encephalartos latifrons
- Encephalartos laurentianus
- Encephalartos lebomboensis
- Encephalartos lehmannii
Encephalartos lehmannii is a low-growing palm-like cycad in the family Zamiaceae. It is commonly known as the Karoo cycad and is endemic to South Africa. The species name lehmannii commemorates Prof J.G.C. Lehmann, a German botanist who studied the cycads and published a book on them in 1834...
- Encephalartos longifolius
Encephalartos longifolius is a low-growing palm-like cycad in the family Zamiaceae. It is endemic to South Africa and is commonly known as the breadpalm or broodboom. The species name comes from the Latin longis, long and folius, leaf...
- Encephalartos mackenziei
- Encephalartos macrostrobilus
- Encephalartos manikensis
- Encephalartos marunguensis
- Encephalartos middelburgensis
- Encephalartos msinganus
- Encephalartos munchii
- Encephalartos natalensis
- Encephalartos ngoyanus
- Encephalartos nubimontanus
- Encephalartos paucidentatus
- Encephalartos poggei
- Encephalartos princeps
- Encephalartos pterogonus
- Encephalartos schaijesii
- Encephalartos schmitzii
- Encephalartos sclavoi
Encephalartos sclavoi is a critically endangered palm-like cycad in the family Zamiaceae, growing to about a metre long. The leaves are 170-200 cm long, dark green and semiglossy. Its seed cones are yellow, being 30-40 cm long and 15-20 cm in diameter. It is found in Tanzania.It was...
- Encephalartos senticosus
- Encephalartos septentrionalis
- Encephalartos tegulaneus
- Encephalartos transvenosus
Encephalartos transvenosus is a palm-like cycad in the family Zamiaceae. It is found in Limpopo Province in South Africa. It is also sometimes called "Modjadji's palm" and is named after the Rain Queen. The species name transvenosus refers to the fine network of veins between the main veins...
- Encephalartos trispinosus
- Encephalartos turneri
- Encephalartos umbeluziensis
- Encephalartos villosus
Encephalartos villosus is a South African cycad occurring from the East London vicinity, where it is found near the coast, to the northern border of Swaziland where it may grow as far as 100 km inland. The species is common throughout its range and is the most frequently cultivated in Southern...
- Encephalartos whitelockii
- Encephalartos woodii
Wood's Cycad is a cycad in the genus Encephalartos, and is endemic to the Ongoye Forest of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is one of the rarest plants in the world, being extinct in the wild with all specimens being clones of the type...