Encephalartos senticosus is a fast-growing cycad of the Lebombo Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland. It grows a thick trunk of sometimes more than 30 cm in diameter and 4 m tall, giving tree size to the plant, considering a fully developed leaf rosette on top (SA Tree List No 8).
The leaves grow fairly straight or slightly down-curving, between 1,1 m and 1,8 m in length. The leaves are dark green and glossy. The stumps of old leaf bases remain on the stem as may be observed on the plant in picture. Leaflets are narrowly ovate and toothed, growing on a yellow rachis or leaf axis. Leaflets vary in length between 12 cm and 18 cm, shorter nearer the leaf base, until there are only prickles right at the base. The leaflets are hard, their tips spiny (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica.com).