Photo Knut Norstog
The Cycad Pages
Zamia wallisii

Zamia wallisii A. Braun, Monatsber. K├Ânigl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin: 376 (1875).
"TYPE: Colombia, Antioquia, 23 Aug 1984, Stevenson et al. 582 (neo NY, iso FTG, HUA, JAUM, NAP, NY)."[NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY][NY]

Etymology: The specific epithet honors Gustav Wallis a plant collector of the latter half of the nineteenth century who first collected the species.

Historical notes: Zamia wallisii was described in 1875 by Alexander Braun (one of the most famous, eclectic German botanists of the 19th century) from material collected by Gustav Wallis in Colombia. The species was collected once again in 1888 by Kalbreyer and then not seen again for 100 years. Both the Wallis and Kalbreyer collections were lost and no type specimen was extant resulting in some doubt about the existence of the species until its recent rediscovery in 1980's.

Distinguishing features: Zamia wallisii is readily identified by its huge elliptic leaflets, up to 30 cm wide, with deep grooves between the veins of the upper surface and the obvious petiolules.

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to Colombia and known only from the neotype locality. Zamia wallisii grows in primary and secondary rain to cloud forests at 300-1000 m as an understory plant on poor clay soils.

Conservation: Zamia wallisii should be considered, along with Z. montana, as the most endangered species of Zamia in Columbia. Both are known only from single populations and the seed cones of Z. wallisii are unknown. The presence of seedlings in the population indicate that reproduction does occur but apparently rarely. According to Rodrigo Bernal, habitat destruction has become acute. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Category V,II,V.
Photo Dennis Stevenson
Photo Dennis Stevenson


Stem subterranean, 3-5 cm diam.

Cataphylls ovate, 1-2 cm long, 2-3 cm wide.

Leaves usually solitary (2-3), 0.5-1.5 m long; petiole 0.3-1 m long, sparsely to densely prickled; rachis with 2-5 pairs of leaflets, occasionally with a few prickles in the lower third.

Leaflets with distinct petiolule, elliptic, grooved between the veins on the adaxial surface, cuneate basally, acuminate apically, margins serrate in upper third, the larger median ones 30-50 cm long, 12-15 cm wide.

Pollen cones cream to light tan, cylindrical to elongate-cylindrical, 5-8 cm long, 1-2 cm diam.

Seed cones unknown.

Seeds unknown.

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
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