Morphological variation, an expanded description and ethnobotanical evaluation of Cycas seemannii A. Braun (Cycadaceae)
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Cycas seemannii (Cycadaceae) is a widespread and highly variable species. This study investigates morphological variability and ethnobotanical uses throughout the entire range (Torres Strait Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga) of the species. The morphological characters studied are highly variable among populations and unrelated to genetic differences. Characters are also more variable than previously assumed and because of this we provide an updated, detailed taxonomic description of Cycas seemannii based on extensive morphometric data, fieldwork and herbarium specimens. The plant is of great cultural importance in Vanuatu, its seeds are utilised as a source of starch and it is a widely cultivated ornamental. Possible consequences of the plant's decreasing cultural importance are discussed.
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