Cycas furfuracea

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Situated in rather an isolated section of the King Leopold Ranges in Western Australia's far north, this species inaccessibility has heen its protection so far. Colonies grow close to the escarpment along Bold Bluff, along gullies and near creek systems. At Mount Brooms, the terrain is a mixture of sandstone boulders and a form of spinifex right up the slopes and the colonies grow almost to the top among the spinifex. The area seems typically of a sandstone type and it has been observed that some plants sucker around their base.

The specific name means covered with loose scales and this appertains to the underside of the leaf fronds which are conspicuously so. The caudex is quite thick somewhat like forms of Cycas media measuring from 1.0m to perhaps 2.5m in height. Existent mature fronds being 0.5m to 1.0m in length, held stiffly and slightly curving out from the apex. Measurements of leaflet pinnae are 10-15.0cm in length by 0.4-0.6cm in width and strongly keeled with darker tips. The leaf colour above is an intense glabrous blue and the underside furfuraceously grey. On the male plants the cones are approximately 30.0cm long and 6.0-60cm wide, narrow and ovoid with a pointed end. Soft grey hairs cover the cones.

The females have a simple Cycas cone of megasporophylls approximately 15.0-20.0cm long. The blades of the megsporophylls are prominently arranged with soft flexible spine-like teeth above the ovules and terminating in a blunt end. The entire cone structure is covered with brown woolly hair. The ovules, when mature, being 2.5cm long, yellow with adhering grey tomentum.

Contributed by:

L. P. Butt from Palms & Cycads No. 27, Apr-Jun 1990.

External Links:

Cycad Pages, IUCN, JSTOR, Trebrown

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