Photo Dennis Stevenson
The Cycad Pages
Zamia fischeri

Zamia fischeri Miq., "in Lem., Hort. Vanhoutt. 1: 20" (1845).
"TYPE: ex horto Petropolitane in H. Houtte. vecta, Miquel s.n. (neo U, fide Stevenson & Sabato 1986)."

Etymology: Named for Gustav Fischer a horticulturist and cycad enthusiast of the mid-nineteenth century.

Historical notes:

Distinguishing features: Zamia fischeri is unusual species in that the stem and seed cones are unusually large given the size of the leaves and overall stature of the plant. It distinguished by its small papyraceous leaves with no prickles. It is most similar to some plants of Zamia pygmaea Sims described as Z. kickxii by Miquel (see Monographia Cycadearum p. 71, t.8 fA, 1842). Z. fischeri is also somewhat similar to Z. vazquezii which has commonly been called Z. fischeri in horticulture. Z. vazquezii differs in having very small prickles on the petiole, larger leaves from 0.3-1 m long, generally pyriform leaflets, and 2n=18.

Distribution and habitat: Endemic to San Luis Potosi and neighboring Querétaro, Mexico. Found from 400-800 m in well-drained rocky sites in evergreen pine-oak forest and cloud forest

Conservation status: Zamia fischeri has been collected only a few times in the past 150 years. On this basis it is presumed to have a limited distribution and to be uncommon in the wild. In fact this species is not commonly found in cultivation. Given the level of habitat destruction it must be considered highly threatened in the wild. 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Category V,II,V.
Photo Dennis Stevenson


Stem subterranean, subglobose, 2-8 cm diam.

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

Leaves 3-8, 15-30 cm long; petiole 5-10 cm long, without prickles; rachis with 5-9 (12) pairs of leaflets.

Leaflets papyraceous, lanceolate, attenuate basally, acute apically, margins with numerous serrations in the upper half, the larger median leaflets 3-5 cm long, 0.5-1 cm wide.

Pollen cones tan, cylindrical to ovoid-cylindrical, obtuse apically, 5-7 cm long, 1-2 cm diam.; peduncle 1.5-2.5 cm long.

Seed cones greenish-gray to gray, cylindrical to ovoid-cylindrical, acuminate apically, 8-12 cm long, 4-7 cm diam.

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

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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