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The Cycad Pages
Zamia amblyphyllidia

Zamia amblyphyllidia D.W. Stev., Fairchild Trop. Gard. Bull. 42(3): 26 (1987).
"TYPE: Puerto Rico: Bosque de Rico Abajo. Utuada, 30 Jan 1985, P. Acevedo R. 576 (holo NY, iso FTG, NY)."[NY][NY]


Etymology: In reference to the blunt obovate leaflets.

Historical notes: This broad leafleted West Indian has gone under many names including Zamia latifoliolata Prenl. which means broad leaflets. However, the type specimen of Z. latifoliolata is clearly a plant of Z. pumila. The epithet latifoliolata is why previous workers applied the name to plants now known as Z. amblyphyllidia.

Distinguishing features: A member of the West Indian Zamia clade distinguished by its large very often deeply notched to almost forked leaflets and peculiarly shaped conical sterile apex of the seed cones called "rocket" cones by Norstog.

Distribution and habitat: Jamaica, Western Cuba, and the North Central area of coastal Puerto Rico.

Conservation status: Although not listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants, this species is very rare in the wild although quite common in cultivation. In fact it may be extinct in Jamaica and is almost extinct in Puerto Rico as a result of habitat destruction and to some extent over collection but not by cycad collectors but rather by commercial nurseries.
Photo Ken Hill

Description:

Stem subterranean and tuberous, 3-25 cm in diameter, often dichotomously branched, wrinkled [smooth] and devoid of old leaf bases.

Cataphylls alternating from 1-2 cm long, sheathing at first, with a pair of inconspicuous stipules.

Leaves generally few, 2-15; petioles with stipules, smooth; rachis bearing 5-30 pairs of opposite to subopposite leaflets, smooth.

Leaflets oblong to broadly obovate, 12-25 cm long and 1.5-3 cm wide, sessile, rounded and often notched apically, with 10-15 indistinct teeth in upper fourth.

Pollen cones pedunculate, 1-30, cylindrical but gradually tapering towards acute apex, each 6-20 cm long and 1-3 cm in diameter, densely pubescent.

Seed cones dark brown, usually solitary but occasionally up to 3, emerging from center of leaf crown, cylindrical ovoid with long gradually tapering blunt sterile apex, 6-15 cm long and 4-6 cm in diameter.

Seeds with a bright red sarcotesta, ovoid, 1-2 cm long.

2n = 16.


The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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