Young Encephalartos trispinosus leaves emerging from the centre of the stem crown take their time to reach length and may unfurl in unusual intermediate instalments as these in the photo are doing.
Young E. trispinosus leaflets may initially be hairy. When the leaves reach full length, the rachises will be straight with an outward (downward) curve near their tips. Rachis colour varies from yellow to green or blue-green.
The cream to beige loose-fitting collars of the thick petiole bases in picture are typical of this plant. Lowest leaflets are not reduced to spines or prickles.
The species is thought to be vulnerable in its habitat early in the twenty first century, although it is hard to assess the prevalence of a low-growing shrub among the dense, thorny scrub of the Eastern Cape (Hugo, 2014; http://www.iucnredlist.org).