Photo Dennis Stevenson
The Cycad Pages
Zamia loddigesii

Zamia loddigesii Miq., Tijdschr. Natuurl. Gesch. Physiol. 10: 72-73 (1843).
TYPE: description (lecto fide Stevenson & Sabato 1986).

Zamia loddigesii var. angustifolia Regel, Bull. Soc. Nat. Moscou 30(1): 190 (1843). H—LE

"TYPE: ex horto Petropolitano, Regel s.n. (holo LE)"
Zamia loddigesii var. angustifolia (Regel) J. Schust., "in Engl., Pflanzenr. 4(1): 148" (1932).
"TYPE: Mexico, Veracruz, savanne bei Mundo nuevo, Karwinski 1028b (lecto LE, iso LE, fide Stevenson & Sabato 1986)."
Zamia loddigesii var. longifolia J. Schust., "in Engl., Pflanzenr. 4(1): 147" (1932). L—LE
"TYPE: Mexico, Veracruz, Colipa, Karwinski 1029 (lecto LE, iso LE, fide Stevenson & Sabato 1986)."
Zamia loddigesii var. obtusifolia Regel, Bull. Soc. Nat. Moscou 30(1): 190 (1843). "t. 186, figs 27-28 in Gartenflora 6: 1857"
"TYPE: ex horto Petropolitano, Regel s.n. (holo LE)."

Etymology: Named in honour of Conrad Loddiges a London based supplier of exotic plants and close correspondent of Friedrich Anton Wilhelm Miquel and outstanding general systematist and monographer of cycads in the 19th century (see Stafleu 1966).

Historical notes: Typification of this species is extremely difficult because as Stevenson and Sabato (1986) pointed out the description by Miquel is based upon leaflets from cultivated plants and these are no longer extant. Moreover the description is so extremely broad that Stevenson and Sabato (1986) were unwilling to neotypify because no single specimen would be in complete conformity with the protologue and they chose instead to typify with the description, an option available under the 1983 International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. However, this has been retroactively changed and thus a specimen, in this case a neotype, needs to be selected preferably from among Miquel's collections at U. Because leaf and leaflet morphology of Z. loddigesii varies considerably (perhaps as a result of introgressive hybridization between Z. furfuracea and Z. spartea), cycadologists with a narrow species concepts have attributed species level names to some variants as demonstrated by the long list of synonymy. Z. lawsoniana and Z. sylvatica have also been placed here in synonymy with Z. loddigesii.

Distinguishing features: Zamia loddigesii has no real distinct features. It can be distinguished from Z. furfuracea by not having obovate leaflets and lacking pubescence at maturity. It differs from Z. paucijuga in having coriaceous leaflets that often appear somewhat glaucous. That is the leaflets of the former are usually chartaceous, shiny, and bright green whereas those of the latter are corieacous, dull, and deep green to greyish.

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Mexico where it found on the Atlantic side of the Sierra Madre Oriental in Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Tabasco. Zamia loddigesii occupies various habitats including disturbed ones within its range. Most typically it occurs from sea level to 1000 m in low dry deciduous forest or semi-deciduous forests at mid elevations to cloud forest at higher elevations. It generally prefers dry often sandy soils.

Conservation: Zamia loddigesii is one of the most common species in the genus in Mexico. It does well even in highly disturbed habitats such as pastures and burned over areas where mature plants perenniate and set seed well. It seems to be of little horticultural interest and is not threatened by overcollecting. Not listed by the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.
Photo Dennis Stevenson
Photo Dennis Stevenson


Stem subterranean and tuberous, 5-12 cm diam.

Cataphylls triangular basally, acuminate apically, 3-6 cm long, 1-2 cm wide.

Leaves 2-6 (10), erect or slightly recurved, oblong, 0.4-1.5 m long; petiole terete, to 60 cm long, sparsely to heavily armed with prickles; rachis terete, rarely with a few prickles, to 1 m long, 10-20 (25) pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets subcoriaceous to coriaceous, linear-lanceolate to ovate-oblong, apex acute to obtuse to attenuate, margins distinct teeth in the upper third, the median ones 30-37 cm long, 1-2 cm wide.

Pollen cones 2-6, cylindrical, cream to light brown, 6-10 cm long, 1-2 cm in diameter; peduncle 10-20 cm long.

Seed cones usually solitary, cylindrical to slightly ovoid, light-brown to brown, acuminate apically, 8-12 cm long, 3-5 cm in diameter; peduncle 4-10 cm long.

Seeds red, ovoid, 3 cm long, 2 cm in diameter.

2n = 18.

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
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