Photo Dennis Stevenson
The Cycad Pages
Zamia obliqua

Zamia obliqua A. Braun, Monatsber. K├Ânigl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin: 376 (1875).
"TYPE: Colombia, Cabo Corrientes, Territorio de Darien, Dec 1847, Seemann 1569 (neo BM, fide Stevenson & Sabato 1986)."

Zamia obliqua Regel ex A. Ducos, "Ill. Hortic. 24: 140, pl. 289" (1877).

TYPE: the illustration: pl. 289.

Photo Dennis Stevenson

Etymology: In reference to the oblique insertion of the leaflets.

Historical notes: Zamia obliqua is one of most beautiful of the New World cycads with its straight, slender, smooth, gray trunks of 5 m bearing some 20 leaves. As discussed under Z. manicata, Z. obliqua has been confused with that species because of errors by Schuster in his descriptions, but there is no close resemblance between them other than the fact that they both belong to the same genus.

Distinguishing features: Besides the tall slender trunks, the symmetrical almost perfect elliptic to slightly obovate, shiny green leaflets with minutely serrated margins are diagnostic of Zamia obliqua.

Distribution and habitat: Zamia obliqua occurs in primary and secondary rainforest from near sea level to 500 m in southern Panama to the southern Choco in Colombia. The species prefers understory situations in primary and secondary rainforest. It does not do well in heavily disturbed areas probably because of its growth habit.

Conservation: Little was known about threats to populations of Zamia obliqua when the IUCN Red List was being compiled, but recent surveys indicate that the species is highly endangered in Panama as a result of habitat destruction. Zamia obliqua produces copious seed but is vulnerable because the plants have to reach a stature of over a meter tall trunk before producing cones. Thus habitat disturbance makes this species particularly vulnerable. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Category I,II,R in Colombia and I,II,V in Panama.
Photo Ken Hill


Stem arborescent, 0.5-5 m tall, 5-12 cm diam.

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

Leaves 5-20, 1-2.5 m long; petiole with numerous small prickles, 30-70 cm long; rachis with prickles in lower third, 10-20 pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets elliptic to obovate, obliquely cuneate basally, acuminate apically, margins serrulate in upper third, the median ones 5-10 cm long, 3-6 cm wide.

Pollen cones cream to tan, cylindrical to ovoid-cylindrical, 4-6 cm long, 1-1.5 cm diam.; peduncle 2-4 cm long; microsporophylls with sterile tip composed of six steeply inclined facets surrounding a centrally depressed terminal facet, sporangia present on both the adaxial and abaxial surfaces of the fertile region.

Seed cones cream to tan, cylindrical to ovoid- cylindrical, 15-25 cm long, 5-8 cm diam.

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

2n = 18.

The Cycad Pages

© 1998-2012 Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
Maintained by Leonie Stanberg and Dennis Stevenson 2010-2012
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