|from Dodson (1998) fig. 1
|The Cycad Pages
- Zamia gentryi Dodson, "Novon 8(1): 12-14, fig. 1 a-f" (1998). H—QCNE
- "TYPE: Ecuador, Esmereldas, km 18 Lita to San Lorenzo, near Alto Tambo, 78 30'W 00 47'N 19 Jul 1988, C.H. Dodson & A.H. Gentry 17520A (holo QCNE iso AAU, MO, NY, RPSC, SEL, U)."
Named in honor of Alwyn H. Gentry the intrepid botanist and botanical
explorer of the neotropics who had an early death as the result of a
plane crash in western Ecuador.
The smooth prostrate trunks combined with several leaves to 2.5 meters
long bearing several narrow entire leaflets serve to distinguish
Z. gentryi from other species of Zamia. This species
appears most similar in many aspects to
Z. roezlii from the Choco of Colombia, northwestern Ecuador
and northwestern Panama. The two species differ in that Z. gentryi
has much smaller, erect seed cones rather than very large, pendent cones.
Juvenile plants of both species are easily distinguished by the presence
of sparse black trichomes between the strongly-produced veines on the
underside of the leaflets of Z. roezlii that are never present on the
shallowly veined underside of the leaflets in Z. gentryi.
There are also similarities with Z. chigua from the
Choco of Colombia and northwestern Panama. Most plants of the latter
in fact have semiprostrate trunks with numerous adventitious roots on
the bottom surface and are without any subterranean stem. Both species
have very thin leaflets with entire margins and appear slightly grooved
but not to the extent of Z. skinneri, etc. The two species differ
in that Z. gentryi has neither as many leaflets nor imbricate
leaflets as in Z. chigua. Also, the pollen cones of the former
are larger than those of the latter and the leaflets are much broader.
Juvenile plants of both species would quite difficult to distinguish from one another.
Distribution and habitat:
Endemic to Ecuador where it grows from 300-800 meters in extremely wet
premontane (cloud) forest on compact clay soils. Although with a trunk,
Z. gentryi is generally prostrate and growing on the soil
surface. Some plants are said to be epiphytic.
This species is known only from an area that is very poorly known botanically and is presumed to have a wider distribution. For now it is consider very rare pending further data. Not listed in the
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.
|Photo Calaway Dodson
|Photo Calaway Dodson
Stems up to 1.5 m long, generally prostrate when terrestrial or u-shaped when epiphytic, 5-15 cm diam., smooth.
Cataphylls up to 12 cm long and of two forms either elongate triangular or with a long acuminate apex.
Leaves 5-9, 0.5-2.5 m long; petiole 45-90 cm long, very densely prickled; rachis with 15-25 (less in juvenile plants) pairs leaflets, densely prickled in lower half.
Leaflets long-lanceolate and subfalcate, chartaceous to membranous, margins entire, attenuate basally, acute apically, the larger median ones 10-40 cm long, 3.5-6 cm wide.
Pollen cones 1-7, wine-red, cylindrical, 30-40 cm long, 3-4 cm diam.; peduncle 20-25 cm long, decumbent.
Seed cones singular, red-brown, narrowly ovoid to cylindrical, 20-30 cm long, 8-12 cm diam., peduncle short.
Seeds obovoid, 3.5 cm long, 1.7 cm diam., pink to red.