Photo Knut Norstog
The Cycad Pages
Zamia neurophyllidia

Zamia neurophyllidia D.W. Stev., "Brittonia 45(1): 10, fig. 5" (1993).
"TYPE: Panama, Bocas del Tora, 7 Jan 1989, M. Correa et al. 3078 (holo PMA iso NY)."

Etymology: The epithet is derived from the strongly nerved appearance of the leaflets.

Historical notes: Zamia neurophyllidia was segregated from Z. skinneri by Stevenson in 1993. Over the years it became apparent that plants from Costa Rica and adjacent Panama that were routinely identified as Z. skinneri were quite different from the original description and illustrations of Z. skinneri in Dietrich (1851) and Schuster (1932). Interestingly, the diploid chromosome number of Z. neurophyllidia is 18 whereas that of Z. skinneri is 22.

Distinguishing features: Zamia neurophyllidia is a smaller version of Z. skinneri and has smaller trunks, leaves, leaflets, pollen and seed cones, and seeds as compared to Z. skinneri. Z. neurophyllidia has leaves with 6-12 pairs of leaflets that are 12-20 cm long and 6-10 cm wide as opposed to Z. skinneri which has 4-8 pairs of leaflets that are 30-50 cm long and 12-15 cm wide. Plants of Z. neurophyllidia at the type locality and nearby have maintained this diminutive size, as adult reproductive plants for nearly thirty years. Thus, Z. neurophyllidia appears to be a distinct species related to Z. skinneri.

Distribution and habitat: Zamia neurophyllidia occurs in Costa Rica and Panama where it grows as an understory plant at from 100-400 m in rainforest that may be occasionally flooded.

Conservation: Zamia neuropyllidia is locally common in southern Costa Rica and Eastern Panama in both pristine and disturbed habitats. Seed set appears high and the populations are not, at this time, threatened by development or destruction. Not listed in the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.
Photo Cynthia Armstrong
Photo Dennis Stevenson


Stem arborescent, to 60 cm tall, 6-12 cm diam.

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

Leaves 3-10, 0.5-1 m long; petiole with numerous prickles, to 30 cm long; rachis with few prickles in lower third, with 6-10(12) pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets elliptic, grooved between the veins on the adaxial surface, cuneate basally, acuminate apically, margins serrulate in upper third, the larger median ones 12-20 cm long, 6-10 cm wide.

Pollen cones cream to tan, cylindrical to elongate-cylindrical, 5-8 cm long, 1-2 cm diam.

Seed cones brown, short pedunculate, ovoid cylindrical, 10-15 cm long, 3-4 cm diam.

Seeds red, ovoid, 1-1.5 cm diam.

2n = 18 (Caputo et al. Amer. J. Bot. 83: 1513-1520. 1996).

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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