Photo Dennis Stevenson
The Cycad Pages
Zamia prasina

Zamia prasina W. Bull, Retail List: 20 (1881). H—K
"TYPE: cultivated from Br. Honduras, W. Bull s.n. (Holo K)."

Etymology: In reference to the bright grass-green leaflets.

Historical notes: First described in 1881 by William Bull in a horticultural catalogue and overlooked until the type specimen as well as the original publication were recently discovered at Kew. It was assumed by Stevenson and Sabato (1986). that the name, Z. prasina, was invalid as it was listed as a synonym of Z. loddigesii var. latifolia (Loddiges ex Miquel) Schuster by Schuster (p. 148, 1932) in a publication attributed to Wm. Bull in 1822 which was before his birth and because they were unable to find either the publication of the name or a type specimen.

Distinguishing features: Shining grass-green, oblong to oblanceolate, leaflets with crowded marginal teeth and bearing the impression, in the form of a slight to pronounced fold, of the adjacent leaflets as a result of the imbricate pytxis and compression of emerging leaves and leaflets. The most similar species in terms of leaflet characters, particularly the adaxial fold, are Z. standleyi and Z. poeppigiana. However, these two species have evenly spaced spreading marginal teeth and either narrower lanceolate leaflets in Z. standleyi or distinctly falcate leafets in Z. poeppigiana.

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Southern Belize where it grows in wet cloud forest on steep slopes.

Conservation: Known from only two collection, the type collection and a living plants at Fairchild Tropical Garden that were collected by Stanley Kiem. Thus it is difficult to assess either the range or the population sizes of this species. Because of the few collections over the past 120 years, it is assumed that the species is very rare. Not listed in the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.
Photo Dennis Stevenson


Stem subterranean to epigeous to 10 cm diam. and 30 cm tall.

Cataphylls ovate, 3-4 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm wide.

Leaves 3-6, 0.5-1 m long; petiole 15-30 cm long, slightly grooved adaxially, sparsely to densely prickled; rachis smooth with 12-18 pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets oblong to oblanceolate, cuneate basally, acute to acuminate apically, margins distinctly serrate to denticulate in the upper two-thirds, the larger median ones 15-20 cm long, 4-6 cm wide.

Pollen cones tan, cylindrical to ovoid-cylindrical, 6-10 cm long, 2-4 cm diam.; peduncle 2-4 cm long.

Microsporophylls with sterile tip composed of six slightly inclined facets surrounding a small, centrally depressed terminal facet, sporangia present on abaxial surface only.

Seed cones light tan when young becoming green and glabrous when mature, cylindrical to ovoid-cylindrical, 10-15 cm long, 5-7 cm diam.

Seeds light-red to red, 1.5-2 cm long, 0.5-0.8 cm diam.

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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