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Zamia furfuracea

Family: Zamiaceae

Common name: Cardboard palm


One of the more popular cycad plants grown in gardens and used for landscape projects, the Cardboard Palm comes from the coastal sand dunes of southern Mexico. It is therefore well suited to exposed positions, coastal plantings and periods of drought.


The leaves of this plant stay close to the ground and over time the plant may form a short trunk. It is ideal as an understorey plant in lightly shaded areas or in open areas where low plants are desired, such as along driveways.


Unlike other common cycads this plant does not have spiny leaf tips, making it well suited to ornamental pots close to the house.


Each leaf carries up to 20 or more leaflets. The leaf first emerges somewhat erect, later lying more flat over the older leaves. Young leaves are highly attractive, being coppery toned due to the small hairs on the lime-green young growth.


A mature specimen may reach about 2 to 3m in width and 1.5m high although these dimensions are unlikely in the average garden.


Best growing conditions are

-          full sun to partial shade

-          well drained soil

-          fertilising in the garden is not necessary if a good mulch is used


Landscape uses

Grow this cycad in a pot as a focal specimen

If you wish to create a lush ‘tropical’ look with minimal water, this plant is ideal

Allow space for the plant to spread

Good for balconies and as an indoor specimen.


Written by Paul Plant, Editor of subTropical Gardening magazine - www.stgmagazine.com.au

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