Description and main characteristics
The plants reach usually a height of 5 - 6 m. The trunks are erect, undivided, but if the apex was damaged, it can develop 2 or more trunks, tilted or even laying plants dislodged by hurricanes are not rare.
A large tree with a typical trunk
The apex bears usually 10-40 leaves, app. 1 m long, which grow into all directions and form a unique spherical crown. The dark green leaflets hanging from the rhachis down in an inverted V-shaped form capture the attention at the very first sight. They are all of a similar length, do not get shorter towards the end of a leaf, thus, the leaves seem to have a „cut-off“ ends.
Three-sided leaves´ microcycas
Also noticeable are the reproductive organs – cones, with diameter to 16 cm and length to 90 cm in female, slender in male, with maximum length to 50 cm.
Mature female cone
Mature seeds are pale red, sometimes faceted, 2x4 cm.
Decomposing cone with mature seeds
The main vertical roots can grow to 1 meter deep in a free soil, but, more typically, the roots form a tangle growing on and between the rocks and boulders.
As in all cycads, the superficial roots form a richly divided corraloid rooots, which bind the air nitrogen in the symbiosis with Nostoc and Anabaena algae and with azotobacteria.
Coralloid roots in seedling
A large tree with divided trunk and female cones in both crowns