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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

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 floridana A.DC.

Zamia media Jacq.

Zamia silvicola Small

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

Zamia tenuis Willd.

Zamia umbrosa Small

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

Zamia integrifolia is an evergreen plant 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 At present (2015), the site is still running but is no longer being updated
]. Younger plants produce a single crown of leaves, older plants are usually multi-headed[
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 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 on a commercial basis for the production of starch in the 19th and early 20th century, but this led to huge population losses of the Cycads to the point where there were no longer sufficient plants to make it profitable to exploit them[
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.
]. 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
,
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

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
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsBeetles
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Zamia integrifolia is native to the subtropics and low tropics of southeastern N. America and has shown itself tolerant of light frosts. The plant 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.
].
This species should always be planted with the tuber slightly below ground level in order to protect it in times of freezing weather. Even if its leaves are killed by frost, it will send up a new flush as soon as the weather warms[
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.
].
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[
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 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.
].

Edible Uses

All parts of this plant are potentially toxic and should not be eaten unless effective measures are taken to remove the toxins.

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

A starch obtained from the stems has been used as a laundry starch[
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.
].

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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2022-10-07. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Zamia+integrifolia>

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