Photo Dennis Stevenson
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The Cycad Pages
Zamia vazquezii

Zamia vazquezii "D.W. Stev., Sabato, A. Moretti & De Luca", Delpinoa n.s. 37-38: 9-17 (dated 1995) (1998).
"TYPE: Mexico. Veracruz: 22 Jan 1989, M. Vazquez-Torres et al. 1119 (holo NY; iso FTG, MO, NY, U, XALU)."


Etymology: The species is named for Mario Vazquez Torres outstanding Mexican botanist and astute student of Central American cycads who first discovered the species.

Historical notes: In recent times, Z. vazquezii has been confused with Z. fischeri which was described in 1845. Sometime after 1932, plants from Veracruz, Mexico were introduced into cultivation under the name Zamia fischeri but these plants are clearly different from the original specimens. Consequently, Z. vazquezii was segregated from what was commonly thought to be Z. fischeri. It should be pointed out that such confusions occur as a result of the failure to examine type specimens and original illustrations and as a result misapplied names become entrenched although incorrect.

Distinguishing features: The salient and most easily seen differences between Z. fischeri and Z. vazquezii are in leaf and leaflet features. Leaves of Z. vazquezii are more numerous (i.e., more than 6), are longer in being greater than 30 cm, are erect, and have more than 12 pairs of leaflets as compared to those of Z. fischeri which number less than six, are less than 30 cm long, are reflexed, and have less than 12 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets of Z. vazquezii are ovate to obpyriform in shape with attenuate to acuminate apices and reminiscent of the fern genera Cyrtomium or species of Adiantum in contrast to those of Z. fischeri that are lanceolate with acute apices. In addition petioles of Z. vazquezii often have minute prickles whereas those of Z. fischeri are always smooth. Additionally, Z. vazquezii is 2n = 18 and Z. fischeri is 2n = 16.

Distribution and habitat: Zamia vazquezii is known only from two small populations in northern Veracruz, Mexico where in grows in semi-evergreen forests to pine-oak forests.

Conservation: Although cones and seeds are readily produced, the species is severely threatened in habitat. However, wild populations are somewhat protected from overcollection because the species is very common in cultivation where it also produces copious quantities of cones and grows quite rapidly from seed. Not yet listed in the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants.
Photo Dennis Stevenson

Description:

Stem subterranean, subglobose, to 10 cm diam.

Cataphylls ovate, 1-1.5 cm long, 1.5-2 cm wide.

Leaves 3-30, 0.3-1 m long; petiole 15-40 cm long, smooth to sparsely prickled; rachis with 12-25 (30) pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets ovate to obpyriform, cuneate basally, acuminate apically, margins with numerous serrations in the upper two-thirds, the larger median leaflets 6-7 (8) cm long, 3-4 cm wide.

Pollen cones tan, ovoid to ovoid-cylindrical, 5-7 (8) cm long, 2-2.5 cm diam.; peduncle 1.5-2.5 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 tan to brown, cylindrical to ovoid-cylindrical, 10-15 cm long, 5-7 cm diam.

Seeds orange-red to red, 1.3-1.8 cm long, 0.5-0.8 cm diam.

2n = 18.


The Cycad Pages

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Written and maintained by Ken Hill 1998-2010
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