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Zamia furfuracea L. f. ex Aiton

Cardboard palm

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionCycadophytaAll cycads—primitive palm-like plants
OrderCycadalesLiving cycads (most are extinct)
FamilyZamiaceaeCycas that are superficially palm- or fernlike
GenusZamiaCycads with palmlike circular stems; from the Greek azaniae, “pine nut”
SpeciesfurfuraceaFrom Latin furfuracea, “mealy” or “scurfy”

About plant names...

Cardboard palm is a native of Mexico. It is a member of the cycad family, and a popular cultivated plant.

Identification: Cardboard palm has leaves 20-59" (50-150 cm) emerging from a central point in the ground, forming a rosette. It can reach 3' (91 cm) in height. The leaves are tough, thick, and fuzzy, composed of 6 to 12 pairs of leaflets up to 3-8" (8-20 cm) × 1-1¾" (3-5 cm). The leaves feel a bit like cardboard when rubbed, hence the common name.

Online References:



Cal Lamke's Cal's Plant of the Week, at the University of Oklahoma's Department of Botany and Microbiology

ARKive: Images of Life on Earth

Zamia furfuracea


Zamia furfuracea f. ex description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Zamia furfuracea (cardboard palm)

2/24/2010 · San Diego (Quail) Botanic Garden, Encinitas, Cali­fornia
≈ 4 × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Range: Zones 9-11:

About this map...