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Research Article
 

Cycas sphaerica Roxb.: A Little Known Endemic Species from Eastern Ghats, India



C. Sudhakar Reddy, K.S. Rao , Chiranjibi Pattanaik , K.N. Reddy and V.S. Raju
 
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ABSTRACT

Cycas sphaerica Roxb., is a little known endemic species found in Eastern Ghats of northern Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, India. Description and geographical distribution of the species was discussed here.

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  How to cite this article:

C. Sudhakar Reddy, K.S. Rao , Chiranjibi Pattanaik , K.N. Reddy and V.S. Raju , 2007. Cycas sphaerica Roxb.: A Little Known Endemic Species from Eastern Ghats, India. Journal of Plant Sciences, 2: 362-365.

DOI: 10.3923/jps.2007.362.365

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=jps.2007.362.365

INTRODUCTION

Cycas sphaerica was first described by Roxburgh (1832). Two Roxburgh collections from the Calcutta gardens is now in the Natural History Museum, London (BM), represent Cycas sphaerica and Cycas rumphii, respectively. The latter is annotated Cycas circinalis and the former bears only the annotation Cycas planifolia Solander MS.

Haines (1924) also described this taxon as a variety closely related to Cycas circinalis. No type was cited, but Haines (1924) stated &isquo; Wild in the hill forests of the Mals of Puri, especially on the tops of ridges with heavy rainfall ! extending to Angul, in open forest, where it is less common! Fl. July-Aug'. Haines' practise was to add the ! when he had seen the plant in the wild in that locality and does not record the existence of a specimen. In Flora of Srikakulam it was mentioned under the name of Cycas circinalis (Rao and Sreeramulu, 1986).

Cycas sphaerica Roxb., Fl. Ind.: 747 (1832). TYPE: ex hort. Calcutta, Roxburgh s.n., 1808 (lecto (fide Hill 1995) BM). (Ken, 1998-2002).

DESCRIPTION

Stems arborescent: leaves bright green, semiglossy, 150-270 cm long, tomentum shedding as leaf expands. Petiole 45-60 cm long, glabrous, spinescent for 90% of length. Basal leaflets not gradually reducing to spines. Median leaflets simple, weakly discolorous, 20-30 cm long, 0.6-1.2 cm wide; section flat; margins flat; apex softly acuminate, not spinescent; midrib raised above, flat below. Cataphylls narrowly triangular, soft, persistent. Pollen cones narrowly ovoid, orange, 45 cm long, 10 cm diameter; microsporophyll lamina firm, not dorsiventrally thickened, 3.2-3.8 cm long, apical spine prominent, gradually raised, 1.7 cm long. Megasporophylls 15-25 cm long, brown-tomentose; ovules 2-5, glabrous; lamina lanceolate, 38-55 mm long, regularly dentate, with pungent lateral spines 0.5-1 cm long, apical spine distinct from lateral spines, 1.7-2.5 cm long. Seeds subglobose, 25 mm long; sarcotesta yellow; fibrous layer present; sclerotesta smooth. Spongy endocarp absent (Fig. 1) (Saxena and Brahmam, 1996).

Image for - Cycas sphaerica Roxb.: A Little Known Endemic Species from Eastern Ghats, India
Fig. 1:

Habit of Cycas sphaerica Roxb.

Local Name
Arjuna chettu, Naasi chettu (Telugu), Oruguna (Oriya).

Habitat
Generally it is found in tropical moist deciduous forests and woodlands on hills.

Geographical Distribution
It is distributed along the hilly tracts of Eastern Ghats of Northern Andhra Pradesh and Orissa (Fig. 2). The location of the species found in two states is given below.

Andhra Pradesh
Occasional in Northernmost part of Srikakulam district in deciduous forests and woodlands of Palakonda, Donubayi, Seetampet areas.

Orissa
Occasionally found in the woodlands of Gajapati (Mahendragiri hills), Ganjam, Khurda (Chandaka wildlife sanctuary), Cuttack and Dhenkanal districts; sparse in moist deciduous forests of Phulbani, Boudh (Khondmals), Nayagarh, Angul, Keonjhar (Hadgarh), Balasore (Kuldiha) and Mayurbhanj districts (southern part of Similipal Biosphere Reserve).

Image for - Cycas sphaerica Roxb.: A Little Known Endemic Species from Eastern Ghats, India
Fig. 2: Location map of Cycas sphaerica in Eastern Ghats of India

Elevation Range
Spatial Distribution pattern of the species is random and apparently found in the elevation ranges in between 200 to 1100 m.

Threats
Habitat loss, anthropogenic pressure, severe forest fragmentation, presence of less number of female plants in comparison to male and illegal exploitation are the major depleting factors for its survival.

Uses
The very young leaves are edible. The plant yields a gum. Pith pieces are used to make sago flour (Reddy et al., 2006). It is often planted in gardens.

Potential Value
The species has botanical, economic, ornamental and distributional interest.

Conservation Status
Poorly known. Red List status: Data Deficient (IUCN, 1994).

Note
Cycas sphaerica Roxb. is closely resembles to Cycas circinalis L. and can be distinguished based on following characters (Table 1).

Table 1: Distinguishing characters of two Cycas species
Image for - Cycas sphaerica Roxb.: A Little Known Endemic Species from Eastern Ghats, India

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Authors are thankful to Dr. P.S. Roy, Deputy Director, NRSA, Head, Forestry and Ecology Division, NRSA, Hyderabad, Sri G. Ganga Raju, Chairman, Laila Impex, Vijayawada and Dr. M. Brahmam, Regional Research Laboratory (CSIR), Bhubaneswar for their encouragement and valuable suggestions.

REFERENCES

  1. Haines, H.H., 1924. The Botany of Bihar and Orissa. Adlard and Son and West Newman Ltd., London


  2. IUCN., 1994. IUCN Red List Categories. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland


  3. Ken, H., 1998-2002. The Cycad Pages. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney


  4. Rao, R.S. and S.H. Sreeramulu, 1986. Flora of Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Meerut University, Meerut


  5. Roxburgh, W., 1932. Flora Indica. Today and Tomorrow's Publishers, New Delhi, India


  6. Saxena, H.O. and M. Brahmam, 1996. The Flora of Orissa, Vol. 1-4. Orissa Forest Development Corporation Ltd., Bhubaneswar


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