|Photo Dennis Stevenson
|The Cycad Pages
- Zamia muricata Willd., "Sp. Pl., ed. 4, 4: 847-848" (1806).
- "TYPE: Venezuela, prope Porto Cabello, Humboldt & Bonpland s.n.; Willd. Herb. n. 18536 (holo B-W, iso U)."
Zamia muricata var. angustifolia Miq., Monogr. Cycad.: 66 (1842).
Zamia muricata var. obtusifolia Miq., Tijdschr. Natuurl. Gesch. Physiol. 10: 71-72 (1843).
- "TYPE: ex Horto Spaarnberg, Miquel s.n. (holo U)."
- "TYPE: the illustration: F. Miquel, Linnaea 19(4): t. 7 fig. a, 1848 (neo, fide Stevenson & Sabato 1986)."
In reference to the small sharp teeth of the leaflets margins.
Until the middle of the 20th century most material of
Z. muricata was from a few cultivated plants introduced into
Europe and elsewhere such as Cuba. Because the origin of cultivated
plants is often obscure, the confusion created leads to needless
redescriptions. In the case of Z. muricata, material introduced
to Cuba was described as Z. gutierrezi in 1868 by
probably without seeing type material,
reduced it to a variety under Z. media which he thought was
realizing that the type was not from
the Caribbean placed Z. gutierrezi in synonymy with
Z. furfuracea. However, the type material of Z. gutierrezi
does not have corieacous leaflets, obovate leaflets, and most
importantly the persistent hairs of Z. furfuracea but instead is
a match for the type of Z. muricata.
Zamia muricata is most similar to Z. lecointei. The two
taxa share a common distribution pattern but are not sympatric and
prefer different habitats. Z. muricata grows as an understory
plant in mesic conditions in wet clay soils whereas Zamia lecointei
grows in open dry areas of sandy to pure sand soils. Z. muricata
has chartaceous to papyraceous, oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate,
inequilateral leaflets that are clearly denticulate in the upper
half of both margins. In contrast, Z. lecointei has
subcoriaceous to coriaceous, linear-lanceolate, subfalcate leaflets
that are entire or with only 1-3 indistinct apical teeth.
Distribution and habitat:
Northeastern and coastal Colombia to central coastal area of Venezuela.
Zamia muricata grows as an understory plant mainly from sea
level to 300 m in primary forest to well-established secondary
forest on rocky to clay soils.
In coastal Venezuela the species does well in both undisturbed habitats
and at the margins of local gardens. Its status in Colombia is
more enigmatic because very few localities are known and these are in
quite remote areas so there is insufficient data.
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
category R,II,I for Colombia and R,II,R for
|Photo Dennis Stevenson
Stem semi-hypogeous to slightly epigeous, to 15 cm tall,
3-8 cm in diameter.
Cataphylls triangular basally, linear-lanceolate apically,
3-8 cm long, 1-2 cm wide.
Leaves 2-6, 1-2 m long, oval to elliptic; petiole 0.5-1 m
long, often with a shallow groove on the upper side, armed with
small 1-2 mm long prickles on the lower side; rachis 0.5-1 m long,
with 6-12 subopposite pairs of leaflets, rarely armed with prickles
in the lower third.
Leaflets chartaceous to papyraceous, inequilateral,
oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, long-acuminate at apex, constricted
at base and articulated with rachis by means of a callous ring of
tissue, denticulate in upper half, 15-20 cm long, 2-4 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, brown, 10-15 cm long, 3-5 cm
in diameter; peduncle 5-8 cm long.
Seeds with a red outer fleshy layer, ovoid, 3 cm long, 2
cm in diameter.
2n = 24.