The Q&A Archives: Cardboard Palm

Question: Some time back purchased a small plant at a local grocery. Had no idea what it was, but very small cost. It obviously is some sort of palm. After several months it started sprouting new leaves from the center - some are now up to 20 inches tall. Today I saw one at "Home Depot" with a tag on it that said "Cardboard Palm" - but no other information. Can you tell me a little about it, and guide me for further info? Seems to be nothing in our plant books.

Answer: The botanical name of your 'cardboard palm' is Zamia furfuracea. It's a native of Florida and Mexico. The short (6-inch), sometimes completely buried trunk produces a 2-4 foot crown of leaves. Each leaf has up to 13 pairs of oval leaflets with inrolled edges, giving the effect of a coarse, leathery fern. Zamia is slow growing and a good container plant. Give it bright light and very little food.

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