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Zamia furfuracea

Botanical Name

Zamia furfuracea


No documentations


Zamiaceae [2]

Vernacular Names

English Broad-leafed Zamia


Zamia furfurcea is a member of the Zamiaceae family. The rootstock is large and grows to about 30 cm in height. The leaves are pinnate with leaflets about 10 pairs regularly widening towards the apex, the lower half being entire and upper half minutely serrated or jagged at the extremity. The footstalk or stipes has several small prickles and is dilated into a rounded concave form at the base. The spandex is peducnulated, oval witha a conical apex, downy, and of a uniform pale yellowish brown colour. When wounded there exudes a mucilaginous liquid which hardened into a pellucid, nearly insipid or slightly bitterish gum. [1]


Zamia furfuracea is native to Mexico but today is widely distributed globally as an ornamental.

Plant Use

It is a popular ornamental plant commonly seen in houses.

Toxic Parts

All parts. [2]


Cycasin, an azoglycoside that releases methlazoxymethanol the compound directly responsible for toxicity. [2] This compound may caus centrilobular and midzonal coagulative hepatic necrosis and gastrointestinal irritation. Cycasin itself is carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic. [3] [4]

Risk Management

As mentioned above the whole plant contains the toxic principle and the ease of flow of exudates upon cutting the plant, it is wise to avoid the plants where there are children in the house. The toxic effects outweighs the ornamental beauty of the plant. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Clinical Findings

The most common feature of poisoning by Z. furfuracea is nausea and vomiting which is associated with abdominal colic. Other symptoms include visual complainst and lethargy. In severe cases coma may ensue. [2]


Symptomatic treatment of severe gastrointestinal symptoms includes intravenous hydration, antiemetic and electrolyte replacement. There is no known specific antidote for the CNS manifestation. [2]


1.     Sims J., Curtis’s Botanical Magazine Volume 45 Sherwood, Neely, & Jones, London 1818 pg. 1969

2.     Nelson LS., Shih RD., Balick MJ., Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, New York Botanical Gardens, New York, 2007  pg. 301 - 303

3.     Cheeke PR. Natural toxicants in feeds, forages, and poisonous plants. Danville, Ill: Interstate Publishers, 1998;388-389.

4.     In: Keeler RF, Tu AT, eds. Handbook of natural toxins: plant and fungal toxins Vol 1. New York, N.Y.: Marcel Dekker, 1983:239-298

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