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Two species of Zamioculcas?

  • Subject: Two species of Zamioculcas?
  • From: Adam Black <epiphyte1@earthlink.net>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 00:49:53 -0400

There are two forms of Zamioculcas floating around - the now ubiquitous 
form labeled as Z. zamiifolia or "ZZ plant" and another type that seemed 
to pop up from time to time before the mass-produced form apparently 
drowned it out in the marketplace. I was wondering if anyone has looked 
into whether the less common version is possibly a seperate species, 
regional variant, or what?

I have both forms in my office, so I end up staring at them when on the 
phone, day dreaming, etc and notice the many differences between them. 
Both plants are about the same size, potted in the same mix, and receive 
the same amount of light and water (they are kept right next to each 
other). Here are the differences I have noticed in my plants:

The uncommon type has half the amount of leaflets than the common form, 
and they are spaced much further apart (the common type has leaflets so 
close together they appear to overlap). The leaflets on the uncommon 
form are also twice as long and noticably  oblanceolate (broadest point 
towards the tip), while the common form is shorter and more elliptical 
(broadest in the middle). The margin is also slightly wavy in the 
uncommon form. The geniculum is also positioned lower on the uncommon 
form, while the common form has a geniculum much closer to the lower set 
of leaflets. The shape of petiole between the geniculum and the soil 
line also is noticably different. In the common form the petiole 
thickens below the geniculum to its widest point but then abruptly 
tapers back down just above the soil line. In the uncommon form the 
petiole broadens below the geniculum very gradually to a point just 
above the soil line, at which point it then abruptly broadens even more 
to its widest point at the soil line (almost like a pony-tail palm - 
Beaucarnea/Nolinia sp). I have not had either of them flower yet so I 
haven't compared their inflorescensces.

Any ideas? Can anybody else growing the two forms confirm my 
observations with their plants?

Thanks!
Adam Black



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