Zamia L. species

Family: Zamiaceae

This is a big genus with 76 accepted species of which we show two examples from the Botanic Gardens collection. There is considerable confusion in the naming of cycads. Many were first collected in the 19th century with many different names being attributed to similar cycads collected by different botanists in different locations with the specimens lodged in different herbaria around the world. Our first example Zamia muricata was known as Z. latifolia but this is not an accepted name. The World List of Cycads gives Z. latifolia as a synonym of Z. furfuracea whereas the Plant List (now recognised authority on botanical nomenclature) is clear that Z. muricata is the correct name for plants originally named Z. latifolia.

Zamia furfuraceae

Cardboard palm or cardboard cycad

Zamia furfuracea is an endangered species on the Red List. It has a distribution limited to the South East part of Veracruz state, Mexico. Its numbers have declined in recent years and its coastal habitat is under threat. Most of the severe decline has been due to removal of plants for ornamental purposes. It is now more common in cultivation than in the wild.

Zamia muricata

Zamia muricata (previously Z. latifolia) is a small trunkless cycad – at least if you can call a plant with leaves up to 5ft (1.5m) long small. It is small compared with other cycads such as Encephalartos. The leaflets are broad, not spiny and have a thin margin of brown hairs. It is a native of Colombia and Venezuela where it is threatened by habitat loss.