Zamia cycadifolia Dyer
Zamia galeottii de Vriese
Zamia herrerae S.Calderón & Standl.
Zamia latifolia Lodd. ex A.DC.
Zamia lawsoniana Dyer
Zamia leiboldii Miq.
Zamia mexicana Miq.
Zamia spartea A.DC.
Zamia sylvatica Chamb.
Zamia loddigesii is an evergreen palm-like shrub with a subterranean, tuberous stem around 25 - 30cm long and 5 - 8cm in diameter. The stem is topped by a crown of around 2 - 5 large leaves that can each be around 75 - 90cm long. Young plants have a single crown of leaves, but older plants divide at the apex and form multiple crowns[
The stems are a source of starch that was once a staple food for many local peoples, it is little used nowadays.
This species has been affected as a result of habitat destruction due to agriculture and cattle ranching that could lead to a population decline of more than 30%. It is classified as 'Near Threatened' 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[
Central America - Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico.
Open slopes or fields, sometimes in wet or moist thickets or forest, occasionally in lowland pine forest, lowlands of both coasts at sea level to 1,000 metres in Guatemala[
|Conservation Status||Near Threatened
|Other Uses Rating||
Prefers a sunny position in a sandy, well drained soil[
]. An almost universal requirement for cycads is a well-drained but moisture-retentive soil, and by far the best soils are sandy gravels and light loams which provide the required drainage and aeration necessary for good growth. Cycads will generally not grow well in clay soils unless those soils are heavily amended with sand and organic matter[
]. 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[
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.
An edible starch can be obtained from the stems[
]. This can be ground into a powder and used in making bread etc. It needs to be thoroughly cooked in order to destroy a poisonous principle[
A starch obtained from the stems can be used as a laundry starch[
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[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.