The Gymnosperm Database


"This original illustration of Zamia roezlii has been chosen as the neotype for the species. From André L'Illustration Horticole 20, Planches 133-4, (1873)" (Jones 1993).


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Zamia roezlii

Linden 1873

Common Names

Chigua (not to be confused with Z. chigua) (Jones 1993).

Taxonomic notes

Originally described from cultivated material in the garden of J. Linden in Belgium. "Researchers consider Z. roezlii to be the most primitive member of the genus" (Jones 1993).


"A medium-sized to large cycad which in nature develops an unbranched, erect or reclining trunk to 7 m long and 15 cm across. Young leaves pale green, glabrous. Mature leaves 2-3 m long, six to twenty in a graceful arching crown, bright green, flat in cross-section; petiole 30-50 cm long, swollen at the base, shortly hairy, densely covered with prickles; rhachis arching, prickly; leaflets twenty to fifty-four on each leaf, 30-40 cm × 3-4 cm, lanceolate, somewhat falcate, moderately spaced at the base, crowded towards the apex, glabrous, dark green and shiny above with prominently raised veins imparting a grooved appearance, paler beneath, tapered to the base, margins entire, apex acute. Male cones 30-50 cm × 4-6 cm, long-cylindrical, erect, brown, shortly hairy; sporophylls about 1.8 cm long, wedge-shaped, the outer face hexagonal; peduncle about 5 cm long, shortly hairy. Female cones 35-55 cm × 10-14 cm, bropadly cylindrical to barrel-shaped, dark brown, shortly hairy; sporophylls about 4 cm long; peduncle about 5 cm long, shortly hairy. Seeds 3.5-4 cm × 1.7-2.5 cm, ocvoid, red to scarlet" (1).

Similar to Colombia's Z. chigua, but with grooved, fewer, much less crowded leaflets (Jones 1993).

Distribution and Ecology

"Endemic to Colombia. This species grows in equatorial forests and swampy mangrove forests of the Pacific coastal lowlands, usually not far above sea level; in fact some plants may be flooded by high tides. Soils have been described as brackish mud" (Jones 1993).

Big tree


"The large ripe seeds are an important food source for local people; preparation consists of pounding to flour and repeated leaching in water to remove toxic compounds" (Jones 1993).



Named for the original collector, Benito Roezl (Jones 1993).

"In the equatorial climate where they grow, the plants are non-cyclic, producing cones throughout the year. The female cones are the largest of all species of Zamia and the spermatozoids are the largest of any cycad known.

Cultivated from seed; very sensitive to frost and drought (Jones 1993).


See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29