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Useful Tropical Plants

Zamia integrifolia

L.f.

Zamiaceae


This species has often been misidentified as Zamia pumila L., a species that occurs in the Caribbean but is not found in Florida[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

+ Synonyms

Zamia floridana A.DC.

Zamia silvicola Small

Zamia umbrosa Small

Encephalartos pruniferus Sweet

Palmifolium floridanum (A.DC.) Kuntze

Palmifolium integrifolium (L.f.) Kuntze

Palmifolium medium (Jacq.) Kuntze

Palmifolium tenue (Willd.) Kuntze

Zamia angustifolia floridana (A.DC.) Regel

Zamia media Jacq.

Zamia subcoriacea H.L.Wendl. ex J.Schust.

Zamia tenuis Willd.

Common Name: Florida Arrowroot

Zamia integrifolia
Plant growing in the Reserva Ecologica Varahicacos, Varadero, Cuba.
Photograph by: Pato Novoa
Creative Commons License
Zamia integrifolia Zamia integrifolia Zamia integrifolia Zamia integrifolia Zamia integrifolia

General Information

Florida arrowroot is an evergreen cycad producing a crown of 2 - 15 fern-like leaves 20 - 100cm long from a usually subterranean and tuberous stem that is 3 - 10cm in diameter, occasionally to 25cm[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
990
Title
The Cycad Pages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/PlantNet/cycad/wlist.html
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to the various species of Cycad, with a comprehensive description of all the known species (as of 2012). At present (2015), the site is still running but is no longer being updated
].
The starch-rich stems and roots were a main source of flour for the native peoples of southeastern N. America, and some people still prepare it today. These peoples are attributed with increasing the plant’s distribution. The plants were exploited commercially for the production of starch in the early 20th century[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
], but are little used today. The plant is grown as an ornamental in gardens[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
The species is abundant across its range but has declined substantially in parts of Florida over the past 90 years (estimated at 20%) mainly due to habitat destruction for housing developments and agriculture. It has therefore been classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

The fleshy seeds contain a toxic glycoside that causes headaches, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhoea if ingested[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].
The juice from the plant is very poisonous[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].
The starch obtained from the stem is poisonous unless thoroughly cooked[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Botanical References

270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
990
Title
The Cycad Pages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/PlantNet/cycad/wlist.html
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to the various species of Cycad, with a comprehensive description of all the known species (as of 2012). At present (2015), the site is still running but is no longer being updated

Range

Southeast N. America - Georgia, Florida; Caribbean - Bahamas; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Puerto Rico.

Habitat

Open coastal areas and sand dunes; pinelands; closed canopy oak hammocks; tropical forest. It is most commonly found in soil over limestone and in sand near sea level or in dry pinelands subjected to periodic wildfires[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusNear Threatened
Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height0.70 m
PollinatorsBeetles
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Native to the subtropics and low tropics, and tolerant of light frosts, this species can also be cultivated in warm temperate areas that do not experience heavy frosts.
Prefers a lightly shaded position and a well drained sandy soils[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. Established plants can tolerate at least some drought[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants are tolerant of somewhat salty soils[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required[
434
Title
Flora of Peru
Publication
 
Author
Macbride. J.F.
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent attempt at a Flora of Peru, though it is clear that many of the plants were imperfectly known at that time and so information on them was sketchy. Available for download from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

The stems and roots are a rich source of starch[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. To make flour, the roots are first chopped into pieces. They are then pounded with a mortar and pestle. The pulp is then washed with water and the starch is allowed to settle to the bottom. Then the water is drained and the remaining paste is left to ferment for several days. At the end of the fermentation process, the starch is set in the sun to dry. When dry, the powdery, cornmeal-like flour is baked into bread[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
The plant parts contain central nervous system toxins, which must be removed before consumption[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. There is a poisonous principle in the stems that is destroyed by thorough cooking[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant forms clumps and, in time, can make a good ground cover[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - remove the fleshy coating and surface sow on damp sand. Germination is best at around 23 - 29°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
], but can take several months or even years[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. Pot up young seedlings into a rich, moist medium, as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on at high temperatures without any check to growth until 2 - 3 leaves have been produced at one time, otherwise they may enter dormancy[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Division[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

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