from Dodson (1998) fig. 1
The Cycad Pages
Zamia gentryi

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)."

Etymology: 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.

Historical notes:

Distinguishing features: 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 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.

Conservation status: 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.

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sy dney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
This site is currently not being maintained