Zamia furfuracea is an ornamental indoor house plant. It has a short think fleshy trunk covered with old leaf bases. Trunk gathers water that is utilized during drought. The Cardboard Palm has pinnate, feathery-like, leaves which grow from the center of the trunk reaching 3 – 4 ft long. Leaves are olive green, overlapping, with a fuzzy surface that looks like they are made of plastic. The leaves radiate from the center of the trunk; each leaf is 20 – 59 inches long with a petiole 6 – 12 inches long, and 6 – 12 pairs of extremely stiff, pubescent green leaflets. These leaflets grow 3 – 8 inches long and 3 – 5 cm wide. Occasionally, the leaflets are toothed toward the tips. The circular crowns of leaves resemble fern or palm fronds. They are erect in full sun, horizontal in shade.
The Zamia furfuracea has male and female reproductive system on separate plants. It produces interesting shaped cones, egg-shaped on the female plant and long oval-shaped on the male. When ripe, the female cone breaks to reveal bright red seeds, about 1 inch long. This fruit is not eatable and is known to be toxic to dogs and cats. Cardboard palm makes a great container plant for the patio or deck.
Scientific Name: Zamia furfuracea
Synonyms: Palmifolium furfuraceum
Common Names: Cardboard Palm, Cardboard cycad, Cardboard sago, Jamaican sago and Mexican cycad.
How to grow and maintain Zamia furfuracea:
It thrives best in blight to full sun. Turn the plant regularly in front of the window so that it will grow evenly.
It grows well in well-drained, succulent mix, with a perfect pH around 6.0 (slightly acidic). Or use a mix of equal parts peat moss and sharp sand.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and keep the soil evenly moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. You can allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.
It prefers an average room temperature 16 degrees Celsius – 24 degrees Celsius / 60 degrees Fahrenheit – 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilize only once a year in spring and again in summer with a slow-release fertilizer.
Re-pot your plant once in every two or three in spring. Move the plants into one size bigger pot, when the plant becomes root-bound.
It can be easily propagated by seed. The fleshy, brightly crimson-colored seeds are created by the female plants. The germination process is very slow.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest or disease problems.
All parts of Zamia furfuracea plant are poisonous to animals and humans. The toxicity causes liver and kidney failure, as well as eventual paralysis. Dehydration sets in very quickly. No treatment for the poisoning is currently known.