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Useful Tropical Plants

Bowenia spectabilis

Hook. ex Hook.f.

Zamiaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Zamia Fern

Bowenia spectabilis
A plant growing in the Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg, Munich, Germany
Photograph by: Daderot
Public domain
Bowenia spectabilis Bowenia spectabilis Bowenia spectabilis Bowenia spectabilis Bowenia spectabilis Bowenia spectabilis Bowenia spectabilis

General Information

Bowenia spectabilis is an evergreen cycad producing a crown of 1 - 7 leaves, each 100 - 200cm long, on the top of a thick, underground, tuber-like stem that can be up to 30cm long and 12cm in diameter[
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.
,
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
,
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 At present (2015), the site is still running but is no longer being updated
,
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
The root was used by the Aborigines of Australia as a food, and the plant is occasionally grown as an ornamental.
Bowenia spectabilis has a large population in the wild and low levels of decline. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
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 seeds are poisonous[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].
The plant is toxic to livestock, the poison being cumulative and leading to weakness in the hindquarters[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
,
1934
Title
Economic Botany of the Cycads
Publication
Econ Bot 12, 3-41 (1958)
Author
Thieret J.W.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02863122
Publisher
 
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Botanical References

286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
,
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
,
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.

Range

Australia - northern Queensland.

Habitat

Scattered in open situations in and around rainforest in north-eastern Queensland; at elevations up to 600 metres[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
,
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
]. A common understorey plant of the wetter rainforests and their margins at low to moderate elevations[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height2.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Bowenia spectabilis is native to the tropical zone of Queensland, favouring a wet/dry seasonal climate and growing in a region where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,500 - 2,500mm, falling mainly in the summer. Summer high temperatures can reach 30°c, and winter lows average 17°c with the lowest recorded temperature slightly below 0°c[
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.
,
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Requires a position in some shade, preferably dappled[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
]. Requires a moist but well-drained soil[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
]. Cycads will generally not grow well in clay soils unless those soils are heavily amended with sand and organic matter[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
]. A neutral soil (pH 7), is generally best for most species of cycads and allows the proper absorption of nutrients. A slightly acid soil is better for most cycads than a basic one[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
A slow-growing plant[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].
Bowenias may go into a dormant state for long periods of time, sometimes for a number of years. This is usually brought about by some negative factor such as drought or heat[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Species in this genus can usually be transplanted easily even when quite large. The best time for moving them is just before the beginning of a new growing season, the roots being trimmed if they are damaged and perhaps some leaves being removed. New roots should develop quickly as the season progresses[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Species in this genus often form structures known as coralloid roots. These roots branch off from the taproot or secondary roots and are distinctive in that they grow laterally or upward, forming a nodular mass at the apex. These coralloid roots occur slightly below or slightly above the soil surface and generally contain cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. These are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available as a nutrient to the plant. The ability to extract this important nutrient from the air explains how many cycad species are able to survive on almost sterile soils[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
A dioecious species, with individual plants producing either all male or all female cones. Therefore both male and female forms of the plant need to be grown if seed is required[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
]. On very rare occasions, usually when a plant has been under severe stress, it can change sex and produce either all female or all male cones[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Pollination must be by insects as both female and male cones are generally produced under leaf litter, making wind pollination nearly impossible[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].

Edible Uses

The large, yam-like rhizomes are eaten by the Aborigines[
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.
]. Rich in starch, they are baked before eating[
1934
Title
Economic Botany of the Cycads
Publication
Econ Bot 12, 3-41 (1958)
Author
Thieret J.W.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02863122
Publisher
 
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Cycads have often been used traditionally as a source of food starch, obtained either from the seeds or from the stems, and it is probable that the seed kernels and stem pith of all cyeads can be used as food after treatment to remove any toxic principle that may be present (See notes above on toxicity). The starch would appear to be of particular importance as a source of sustenance during hard times or in areas where the food supply is naturally limited[
1934
Title
Economic Botany of the Cycads
Publication
Econ Bot 12, 3-41 (1958)
Author
Thieret J.W.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02863122
Publisher
 
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seeds - best sown as soon as they are ripe, though the seeds of many species can take 12 months or more to finish maturing the embryo before they are ready to germinate. Sow the seeds in a tray in a freely-draining medium and place in moderate shade. Bottom heat at about 27°c will hasten seed germination dramatically. Young roots are quite brittle and once germination takes place, the root grows rapidly. It is important to pot up the seedlings at this time in order to give them enough root-space. Grow on the plants in pots until large enough to plant out[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
,
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Division of off-sets or suckers is best carried out just before the plant comes in to new growth at the start of the growing season[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2023-02-03. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Bowenia+spectabilis>

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