Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

July 20, 2016

Why you should call your cardboard palm a Zamia

If you have a cardboard palm, like the one in the photo at the top of this post, I'm gonna suggest that you start calling it a Zamia.

No, it isn't because I'm some big smarty-pants, who wants to go around correcting people all of the time! It's just that a cardboard palm will introduce you to some wonderful and fascinating plants - Zamias, which aren't palms at all. And knowing that will also help you to care for this plant.

OK, let's talk a little Latin here. This plant is a Zamia, which is is a genus of cycad of the family Zamiaceae. And if you speak a little Latin, you are not only being more precise about exactly what plant this is, it will allow you to Google the best information about caring for it. And if you're protesting that you can't speak Latin, may I remind you that you said "Triceratops" when you were a kid (at least I did!)?

Zamia floridans (coontie).

Once you've introduced yourself to Zamias, then you'll find a lot more types and varieties. Some people, especially people who live in Florida, call some types "coonties". And they come in a lot of different shapes and sizes! I've been trying to figure all the different Zamias that I have here at the Tropical Paradise, and no one seems to agree on their names, so I just call them Zamias.

So, go into your local Home Depot (assuming you live in a warm climate) and ask for a cardboard palm. They'll know what you mean. Then when you get home, Google Zamia to find out how the experts care for them, and to see the amazing varieties. Then you'll need to find a place that sells Zamias, and you will! Enjoy!
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