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Encephalartos natalensis form???


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I got this as a small plant from Josh Allen a few years back.  They were tiny when he got them and they were supposedly Encephalartos munchii, but by the time I got it, it was apparent that this batch was misidentified.  I dropped it into this spot in full south exposure and reflected heat from the block wall behind it a couple of years back and its just plugged along.  I've been waiting for it to mature to try to nail down the identification, and my best guess right now is Encephalartos natalensis.  It has the wolly caudex and petioles emerge quite wolly.  Leaflets are still holding some prickles, but it's still young, and young nats can still have quite a few prickles on the leaflets.  The leaflet color, the dark green once hardened off matches, and the basal leaflets reduce down to small prickles at the bottom of the petiole.  Most of the caudex is still subterranean, but it's about grapefruit size now, but still only pushing flushes of 3 leaves.

I thought I would post a couple of current photos as it flushes in Autumn, to see if anyone agreed or had other thoughts.  Of course it is always possible that it could be a hybrid too, so doesn't exactly match up with any single species.  Thoughts or comments?



33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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34 minutes ago, JubaeaMan138 said:

Looks like munchii to me . Just not the blue munchii

I actually didn't know there was a green form.  This is as green as the Encephalartos whitlockii x sclavoi adjacent to it.   I have a much older and bigger plant which still hasn't coned yet that was acquired as a form of Encephalartos munchii from George Sparkman which he later told me was not munchii as it matured.  It has a blue-green tint to the leaves in a shady spot.  I guess I expected a more blue leaf on this one i posted given its full sun exposure. 

33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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I have a munchii that is green I got from Kevin weaver few years back That looks pretty much like yours .i know he has labeled his munchii and also munchii blue . So I always figured there was a green form and a blue form . I could be wrong I’m no expert . 

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Yeah, there is a predominantly green form too.  It's got a bit of bluish tint, but only when you put it up next to a solid green one like a Whitelockii or similar.  JungleMusic discusses that here:


Edit: also some good photos here with some examples of mostly green to somewhat blue forms:


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On 10/20/2022 at 11:13 AM, Tracy said:

I have a much older and bigger plant which still hasn't coned yet that was acquired as a form of Encephalartos munchii from George Sparkman which he later told me was not munchii as it matured.

I should clarify this.  As I recall George had acquired some plants or seeds labeled as E munchii "Zemba" and others from what was supposed to be another colony labeled as E munchii "Vumba".  I bought the "Vumba" form.  Later George told me that the ones labeled as "Vumba" were not in fact E munchii, and he sold the "Vumba" specimens as just  E. "Vumba".  I don't know if the E "Vumba" is just a form of E manikensis or if it has since been broken off or lumped into something else.

When I posted the original plant, the other thought I had was something in the E manikensis complex.  Perhaps my original confusion on it was that Josh told me he didn't think it was the E munchii blue form, and my ignorance on their also being a green form made me assume that it wasn't an E munchii.  Ironically if I had gone to Loran Whitelock's book, at that time the only type identified was a green form.  So that's the reason for posting a question... to learn something new.  Thanks all.




33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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My understanding (which may well be wrong!) is that Vumba (or Bvumba) and Munchii are considered part of the Manikensis complex.  I guess there's some disagreement on whether Munchii should be considered separate.  But Munchii is from Mount Zembe...which is part of the Vumba mountain range.  So they probably all have that characteristic "kink" near the base of the fronds, and share a lot of the same leaflet characteristics.  ChuckG said that he had a ton of seeds from the Manikensis area and separating them out was really difficult.  Theoretically I have a Bandula, Chimanimaniensis "Elizabethville", Choala, two Munchii, and a unknown "Manikensis type" that was tagged Vumba.  My "Vumba" is still pretty small, only about 2' fronds at this point.  So it's tough to positively ID right now.

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