There are a considerable number of recorded leaf variations found within the E.natalensis complex. This cycad occurs from the Transkei, through KwaZulu Natal to as far north as the Vryheid district. The leaves are green,1.3-3.2m long and are usually straight although sometimes with a recurving umbrella-like foliage. The stems can grow up to 7m tall.
Originally from the Ngoye Forest of KwaZulu-Natal. It is now extinct in the wild. Fortunately this is the fastest growing species of Encephalartos and one of the most vigorous in cultivation. The leaves are 1.75-2.5m in length, recurving and spreading to form a typical umbrella canopy. Stems up to 5.5m have been recorded.