Cardboard Palm Trees
Zamia furfuracea is the Cardboard palm tree. It is also called the Leatherleaf palm because of its thick, smooth foliage. Technically, this Zamia palm is a cycad.
Z. furfuracea is more of a tender perennial shrub than a palm tree. The "trunk" is very low to the ground. On a mature, bushy plant, you may not even see it. The 3-5 foot long fronds will just seem to arise from the soil.
Caring for Cardboard Palms
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The lack of needles or spines on these plants makes them a great choice for planting beside a path. They prefer a shady location and love water.
Space plants 6 or more feet apart and do not allow them to remain dry for long periods.
Unprotected plants are winter hardy in USDA zones 9b-11. In colder areas, you can grow it in a pot and bring it indoors for the winter.
Seed cones arise from the soil periodically. They are not very showy, you may have to separate the leaves to find them.
New plants can be started from the ripe seeds which will fall out of the cones onto the ground around the Zamia plant when they are ready to harvest.
Zamia Seed Toxicity
Zamia seeds taste good and are attractive to house pets. They should never be ingested as they are toxic
When eaten in large quantities (which dogs sometimes do) they can cause liver failure.
If your pet eats the seeds you will know because it will vomit them up. Take the animal to the vet immediately. Pets that receive care right away can often be saved.
I wouldn't plant Zamias if I had a pet that liked to eat such things. But, if you've already got a mature Zamia cycad growing in your yard there is an easy way to avoid this frightening situation. Make it a habit to check for and remove the seed cones before the seeds ripen and fall.
This may actually be healthier for the plant. Ripening seed requires a lot of energy.
Growing Cardboard Palms from Seed
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This is a very slow process. It may take several growing seasons before the seedlings develop more than a single leaf. Prepare to wait a few years for seedling plants to show the characteristic bushy shape that these plants are so loved for.
If you don't have the patience to wait several years, start with a sizable plant.
The seeds do not remain viable for long. Sow them the year they are harvested.
Cardboard Zamia Palm - Seeds - $9.95
Palm Seeds - Freshly Harvested by Season
Other Types of Palm Trees:
The Florida Arrowroot Palm
Coconut Palm Care Info and Pictures
Cocothrinax crinita, the Old Man Palm
Areca Palm Tree Care and Cold Tolerance
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