Gloria Mora, Fl. Colombia
The Cycad Pages
Zamia montana

Zamia montana A. Braun, "Monatsber. K├Ânigl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, Apr 1875 : 376" (1875).
"TYPE: Colombia, Antioquia, 1750m, Zarucchi et al. 5724 (neo NY; isoneo MO, fide Stevenson, Fl. Colombia)."

Etymology: In reference to the submontane to montane habitat of the species.

Historical notes: Zamia montana was described in 1875 by Alexander Braun (one of the most famous, eclectic German botanists of the 19th century) from material collected in by Gustav Wallis in Colombia. The species was collected once again in 1888 by Kalbreyer and then not seen again for 100 years. Both the Wallis and Kalbreyer collections were lost and no type specimen was extant resulting in some doubt about the existence of the species until its recent rediscovery in 1980's.

Distinguishing features: Zamia montana is readily identified by its obviously long obovate leaflets with shallow grooves between the veins of the upper surface.

Distribution and habitat: Zamia montana is endemic to the submontane and montane areas of Antioquia, Colombia where it grows from 1800-2000 m in wet montane forest. Z. montana grows at highest elevation known for any neotropical cycad and is known only from collections at and near the neotype locality.

Conservation status: Zamia montana is extremely rare and is unknown in cultivation. Its habitat is also extremely threatened by logging activities. In fact, it may well be extinct in the wild because the only known population occurs in an area that was recently logged. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants V,II,V.
Photo Julio Becantur


Stem arborescent, 0.5-1.5 m tall, 10-20 cm diam.

Cataphylls triangular basally, long acuminate apically, 3-5 cm long, 2-3 cm wide.

Leaves 2-5, 1-2 m long; petiole with only a few prickles, 30-70 cm long; rachis with 8-12 pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets oblong-lanceolate, shallowly grooved between the veins of the upper surface, cuneate basally, acuminate apically, margins sparsely serrulate in upper third, the median ones 18-30 cm long, 3-7 cm wide.

Pollen cones tan, cylindrical to ovoid-cylindrical, 6-8 cm long, 1.5-2 cm diam.; peduncle 2-4 cm long.

Seed cones brown, cylindrical to ovoid- cylindrical, 20-30 cm long, 8-10 cm diam.

Seeds red, 1-1.5 cm long, 0.5-0.8 cm diam.

The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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