Cycas basaltica

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This grows in sections of the vast Kimberley Ranges, generally in open forest country near or between the ranges, terrain being typically basalt and rocky. The largest colonies known are in open Eucalypt country, around the bases of small hills in the Drysdale River National Park.

The combination of silvery new pinnae contrasting with the rusty gold-brown of the rachis is very eye catching. The caudices are stout mostly to about 2.0 m in height and swollen at the base. This is similar to reports from the east coast of Queensland of Cycas sp. 'Marlborough Blue'. Cycas basaltica obtains its name from its geological basalt surroundings The caudices measure from 30.0-60.0 cm in diameter. Leaf fronds are 0.5-1.5 m in length and covered in short white hairs which give it a grey appearance. The male cone is narrow, elongate and ovular, and the female circle of spikes is covered with thick fine rusty hairs There are four ovules to each megasporophyll, the end blade of the spikes being narrow and entire. Mature pinnae are narrow and rigid, with some recurving along the margins of each. All pinnae being very hoary beneath. Seed apparently mature in August.

Contributed by:

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

External Links:

Cycad Pages, IUCN, JSTOR, Trebrown

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