|Photo Dennis Stevenson
|The Cycad Pages
- Zamia portoricensis Urban, Symb. Antill. 1: 291 (1899).
- "TYPE: Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, prope Guanica in sylva ad Ensenada, Sintenis 3782 (holo B, iso NY)."[NY]
Based upon the occurrence of the type specimens
being from Puerto Rico.
After the description of Zamia
portoricensis the species remained enigmatic and generally
unrecognized for many years because of a paucity of collections.
This is part due to its restricted and sporadic distribution. It
is clear now that plants in the field and cultivation maintain
their morphological characters.
Z. portoricensis most
closely resembles Z. angustifolia. It can be distinguished
from Z. angustifolia by its longer leaves of up to 1.5 m
long, by its wider (> 5 mm.), caniculate leaflets with acute
apices, and by its reddish brown cones. In contrast, Z.
angustifolia has leaves generally less than 1 m long, narrow
leaflets (< 5 mm wide) blunt tipped leaflets that often appear
rolled into a tube, and cones that are grayish to black. Z.
portoricensis differs from Z. integrifolia in having
entire leaflet margins whereas the leaflet margins of Z.
integrifolia always have a few apical callous teeth.
Distribution and habitat:
One of the Caribbean species of Zamia that is found only
in Western Puerto Rico where it grows on very dry limestone
soils that often contain an element of serpentine.
Z. portoricensis has become very rare in Puerto Rico
in part to development but also as a result over collection for
nursery plants. Although in protected parks and a National Forest,
this has done little to protect the species from collecting and
plants can be found in plant stores in New York City labeled as
Z. pumila and Z. floridana. However, the species is
easily raised from seed and young plants have begun to appear on
the market and artificial propagation appears to be in place. Of
more concern is the lack of seed set in one of the larger
populations. In visits to this population every year for the past
seven years, neither seeds nor potential pollinating insect have
been seen. Older pollen cones do not have the indicator weevil
exit holes. Thus, it appears that the pollinator(s) may have been
eradicated as a result of the aerial application of pesticides for
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
|Photo Ken Hill
Stem subterranean and tuberous, up to 15 cm. diam.,
often dichotomously branched.
Cataphylls from 1-2 cm long, sheathing at first, with a
pair of inconspicuous stipules.
Leaves 2-10, 0.5-1.5 m long; petioles with stipules,
smooth; rachis bearing 5-30 pairs of opposite to subopposite leaflets, smooth.
Leaflets linear 8-25 cm long and 0.5-0.8 cm wide, often
caniculate above, acute apically, entire.
Pollen cones pedunculate, reddish brown, 1-10,
cylindrical but gradually tapering towards acute apex, each
3-15 cm long and 0.8-2 cm in diameter, densely pubescent.
Seed cones reddish brown, usually solitary but occasionally
up to 3, cylindrical to slightly ovoid with blunt or slightly acute
apex, each 6-12 cm long and 4-5 cm in diameter, densely pubescent.
Seeds with a red to orange-red sarcotesta, ovoid, 1-2 cm long.
2n = 16.