Photo Ken Hill
The Cycad Pages
Zamia standleyi

Zamia standleyi Schutzman, Syst. Bot. 14(2): 214-219 (1989).
"TYPE: Honduras, Atlantida, Lanatilla Valley near Tela, Aug 1984, B. Schutzman 449 (holo FLAS, iso ENA, FTG)."

Photo Ken Hill

Etymology: Named in honour of Paul Standley for his excellent thorough and prodigious work on the flora of Mexico and Central America.

Historical notes:

Distinguishing features: Long-lanceolate leaflets with spreading evenly spaced 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. Additionally, the seed cones have a distinctive curved, long-acuminate tip. The most similar species in terms of these leaflet characters is Z. poeppigiana. Zamia poeppigiana has leaflets with parallel margins and a pronounced falcate base, 10-15 leaves per plant that are 1-3 m long with 20-40 pairs of leaflets, and adult plants with trunks to 4 m tall. In contrast, Z. standleyi has upwardly subfalcate leaflet margins and a straight attenuate base, 1-5 leaves per plant that are less than 1 meter long with 10-15 pairs of leaflets, and adult plants with subterranean stems.

Distribution and habitat: Zamia standleyi is endemic to Honduras where it occurs from sea level to 200 m in semi-xeric woodlands to secondary scrub vegetation and even at the margins of cultivated gardens and fields.

Conservation: Zamia standleyi seems to do well even in disturbed situations. Numerous cones and seeds are produced in habitat and in cultivation. However, caution should be exercised in the case of assuming viable seed production in this species. A female plant growing at the New York Botanical Garden has produced from 1-2 cones with mature seeds every year for the past 17 years. Yet no male plants or other pollen producing plants were present and pollination did not occur. Accordingly these "seeds" contain no embryos. This is the only known case in Zamia of the failure of ovules to abort in the absence of pollination. Thus for estimates of viable seed production in the field, seedlings need to be observed. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Category R,II,R.
Photo Dennis Stevenson
Photo Ken Hill


Stem subterranean and tuberous, 5-12 cm diam.

Cataphylls of two forms either triangular basally with stipules and acuminate apically, 3-6 cm long, 1.2-2.8 cm wide; or when subtending cones elongate triangular without stipules, 5-12 cm long, .75 -1.5 cm wide.

Leaves 1-5, slightly to strongly recurved, oblong, 0.2-1 m long; petiole terete, to 60 cm long, sparsely to heavily armed with prickles; rachis terete, rarely with a few prickles, to 45 cm long, 10-15 pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets subcoriaceous to coriaceous, long-lanceolate, apex acute to attenuate, margins with distinct spreading and evenly spaced teeth in the upper third, the median ones 20-45 cm long, 1-4 cm wide.

Pollen cones 1-3, decumbent, cylindrical, light-brown to brown, 6-10 cm long, 1-2 cm in diameter; peduncle 2-4 cm long.

Seed cones usually solitary, cylindrical to slightly ovoid, light-brown to brown, long-acuminate apically with the acumen curved, 8-12 cm long, 3-8 cm in diameter; peduncle 2.5-4 cm long.

Seeds red, ovoid, 3 cm long, 2 cm in diameter.

2n = 16.

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
This site is currently not being maintained