|Photo Dennis Stevenson
|The Cycad Pages
- Zamia purpurea "Vovides, J.D. Rees & Vázq. Torres", Flora de Veracruz 26: 28-31 (1983).
- "TYPE: Mexico, Veracruz, Vovides 734 (holo XAL)."
Named with reference to the deep reddish-purple emerging leaves and
purplish young seed cones.
Described in 1983 from material collected in Veracruz.
Zamia purpurea is the only known species of
Zamia with distinctly purple ovulate
cones. Vegetatively the species can be distinguished from other species
with subterranean stems and purplish emerging leaves that have only 3-5
pairs of leaflets with prominent venation, most notably,
Z. dressleri. Zamia dressleri has much larger
leaflets, 30-50 cm long and 12-15 cm wide, and prominent adaxial
grooves between the veins in contrast to the smaller leaflets, 10-25 cm
long and 2-8 cm wide, and non-grooved adaxial surface found in Z.
purpurea. Additionally, Z. purpurea can be distinguished
from other Central American species of Zamia such as Z.
cremnophila, Z. lacandona, Z. standleyi, and Z.
verschaffeltii with reddish to purplish emerging leaves because
these species have neither elliptic leaflets nor prominent veins
on the abaxial surface.
Distribution and habitat:
Known only from a very few localities in Oaxaca and Veracruz, Mexico
where it grows in at 100-500m in semi-evergreen to evergreen rainforest
on well drained soils.
Although surviving in cultivation, wild populations are few and far
between and appear to be barely surviving. This is a species where
thorough studies of its population structure and reproductive biology
would go a long way in towards ensuring its survival.
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
|Photo Ken Hill
Stem subterranean, 3-5 cm diam.
Cataphylls of two types, broadly triangular and 1-2 cm long
or narrowly triangular and 2-4 cm long.
Leaves 2-6, 0.20-1 m long; petiole 10-50 cm long, sparsely to
densely prickled; rachis with 3-6 pairs of leaflets, bright reddish-purple
when emerging and often brownish green when mature.
Leaflets elliptic to oblong-elliptic, veins prominent and
often slightly raised on abaxial surface but not grooved between on
the adaxial surface, cuneate basally, acuminate apically, margins
serrate in upper half, the larger median ones 10-25 cm long, 2-8 cm wide.
Pollen cones light-brown, short pedunculate, conical
to cylindrical, 2.5-3.5 cm long, 0.8-1 cm diam.; microsporophylls with
blunt peltate tips, sporangia on abaxial surface only.
Seed cones purplish to purplish brown, short pedunculate,
ovoid cylindrical, 6-8 cm long, 3-4 cm diam.
Seeds red, ovoid, 0.7 cm diam.
2n = 22.