Cardboard Palm
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Cardboard Palm
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Cardboard Palm, Cardboard Plant, Cardboard Sago, Jamaican Sago, Mexican Cycad
Botanical name: Zamia furfuracea    Family: Zamiaceae (Coontie family)

Cardboard Palm is a cycad native to Mexico. Although not a true palm, its growth habit is superficially similar to a palm. The plant has a short, sometimes underground trunk up to 20 cm broad and high, usually marked with scars from old leaf bases. It grows very slowly when young, but its growth accelerates after the trunk matures. Including the leaves, the whole plant typically grows to 1.3 m tall with a width of about 2 m. The leaves radiate from the center of the trunk. Each leaf is 50-150 cm long with a stalk 15-30 cm long, and 6-12 pairs of extremely stiff, green leaflets. The leaflets have a rough, fuzzy surface, somewhat like a cardboard in feel, hence the common name. These leaflets grow 8-20 cm 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. This plant produces a rusty-brown cone in the center of the female plant. The egg-shaped female (seed-producing) cones and smaller male (pollen-producing) cone clusters are produced on separate plants.

Identification credit: Manoj Lekhak, Mukul Pandya Photographed in cultivation, in Delhi & Agra.

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