Zamia amblyphyllidia D.W.Stev.
Zamia erosa is an evergreen shrub with a subterranean, tuberous stem 3 - 25cm in diameter. The stem is topped by a crown of 2 - 15 leaves that can each be up to 150cm long[
The stems have been used in the past as a source of starch for local people.
This species is very rare in the wild, and extinct in parts of its range, although it is quite common in cultivation. It has been affected by habitat destruction as a result of road building and land clearance for agricultural practices. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
The fleshy seeds contain a toxic glycoside that causes headaches, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhoea if ingested[
The juice from the plant is very poisonous[
The starch obtained from the stem is poisonous unless thoroughly cooked[
Caribbean - Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico.
Grassland, ravines and open forest dominated by species of Pinus and Quercus. Plants occur on steep limestone hills and among limestone rocks[
Succeeds in full sun or in light shade[
]. Requires a well drained soil[
Cycad species 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[
Species in this genus 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[
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[
]. 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[
All parts of this plant are potentially toxic and should not be eaten unless effective measures are taken to remove the toxins.
The large fleshy root is hidden in crevices of the jagged rocks, but is dug out by local people and used in the manufacture of starch[
]. This is ground into a powder and used to make bread etc. It needs to be thoroughly cooked in order to destroy a poisonous principle[
Seed - remove the fleshy coating and surface sow on damp sand. Germination is best at around 23 - 29°c[
]. 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[
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