Bowenia spectabilis (Zamia Fern)
An elegant small cycad to 1-2m, it has arching fern-like glossy dark green leaves, which can grow to be a metre wide and up to two metres in length. Looks great in mixed tropical plantings in the garden and as an indoor plant.
Despite it’s misleading common name, Zamia Fern is in fact a Cycad. An ancient group of plants in the family Stangeriaceae. One of the smallest cycads endemic to the Cape York Peninsula and NE Queensland, Australia. Found on the coast and ranges from Cardwell to Cooktown, with an outlying occurrence in the McIlraith Range.
It is hardy in tropical and subtropical areas, in well drained soil. Prefers a protected moist semi-shaded or shaded position similar to its humid natural forest habitat. It may prove suitable for temperate climates in frost-free areas.
One of only three species in the genus Bowenia, it is a very slow growing dioecious plant, with distinct male and female individuals and bears separate ovoid shaped male and barrel shaped female cones instead of flowers. Information suggests that weevils are responsible for pollination between the sexes. Weevils are said to live on the male plant, feeding on the pollen before crossing over to the female plant to pollinate it when in “flower”.
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