Encephalartos gratus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Cycadopsida Cycadales Zamiaceae

Scientific Name: Encephalartos gratus Prain
Common Name(s):
English Mulanje Cycad

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-31
Assessor(s): Donaldson, J.S.
Reviewer(s): Agenbag, L. & Bösenberg, J.D.
Overall population numbers are difficult to assess. Up to 100,000 were originally reported from Mozambique but this is apparently incorrect. More recent assessments (e.g. Capela 2006) record 'a few thousand plants in small groups'. Large areas areas where E. gratus occurs have been cleared for agricultural expansion and, in these areas, the cycads occur in small groups in the hills. The extent of clearing is likely to reduce the area of occupancy by 30% within one generation.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species was discovered in the Mulanje district of southern Malawi in the region between the Tuchila (Puchila) and the Ruo rivers. Subsequently plants were also found in Mozambique in Zambesia province. Subpopulations are found in the vicinity of the Chiraba and Navene rivers and also on Mount Namuli, near Derre, Morrumbala and Namarroi. Recorded from 650 to 900 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Malawi; Mozambique
Additional data:
Number of Locations:11
Lower elevation limit (metres):650
Upper elevation limit (metres):900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The true size of the population is not known, but it is probable that it is reasonably common and exceeds 20,000 mature individuals.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:20000
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs on steep to precipitous slopes in gorges near streams. Plants grow in savanna but not in densely wooded sites. The plants seem to be adapted to a periodic burn cycle.
Generation Length (years):70

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened due to habitat destruction to make place for tea plantations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of the CITES Appendices.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Capela, P. 2006. Speculations on the Encephalartos species of Mozambique. Pedro Capela, Chimoio, Mozambique.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Osborne, R. 1991. Focus on Encephalartos gratus. Encephalartos 25: 4-9.

Citation: Donaldson, J.S. 2010. Encephalartos gratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T41916A10594309. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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