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Zamia pseudoparasitica

Zamia pseudoparasitica


(Pictured here is a mature plant formerly located in the Fairchild Botanical Garden in Miami)

Zamia pseudoparasitica is a rarity among rare plants-- the only truly epiphytic cycad. It grows in the Atlantic coastal rainforests and cloud forests of Panama, hanging from tree branches and crotches by its tap and lateral roots, generally from 20-60 feet above the ground. Besides being the only species of Zamia that is epiphytic and that has yellow seeds, Z. pseudoparasitica can also be distinguished by its large leathery leaves with smooth, sickle-shaped spineless leaflets.

Benefiting from a tropical or subtropical climate, Z. pseudoparasitica grows leaves from 3-9 feet long, which hang from the plant. Its leaves, cones, and seeds are among the largest among Zamias. In habitat, the stem of Z. pseudoparasitica grows upwards but as the plant becomes larger and heavier it begins to hang down, and the stem becomes U-shaped. Uniquely among cycads coralloid roots form thick clusters 2-4 inches in diameter.

Although it is very abundant in its native habitat, Z. pseudoparasitica is very uncommon in cultivation.



Zamia pseudoparasitica Seedlings



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Zamia pseudoparasitica