Zamia furfuracea
Common Name: cardboard palm 
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Zamiaceae
Native Range: Mexico
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 4.25 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Best grown in sandy, coarse, well-draining soils in full sun to part shade. Requires a relatively dry period of dormancy in winter but regular watering during the growing season. Hardy in Zones 9-11. Does not tolerate hard frosts. Tolerant of salt spray and some drought.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Zamia furfuracea, commonly called cardboard palm, cardboard plant, or Jamaican sago, is a cycad endemic to the coastal mountains and sandy, limestone sea cliffs of Veracruz, Mexico. This plant is not a vigorous grower but will slowly reach up to 4.25' tall with a 7' spread. The stiff, slightly arching fronds are made up of up to 13 pairs of opposite leaflets and emanate from a central crown. The leathery, oblong to oval leaflets have a somewhat coarse, fuzzy texture reminiscent of cardboard. The short, stout stem can grow above or partially below ground. Female plants form cones that require pollen from the cones of male plants to be fertilized. Bright orange, fleshy seeds mature on the fertilized female cones.

Genus name derives from zamiae, a false rendering in some texts of Pliny for azaniae, referring to pine-cones.

The specific epithet furfuracea means scruffy or mealy, in reference to the surface texture of the leaflets.

The common name cardboard palm refers to the surface texture of the leaflets.


No major pest or disease problems reported.


An interesting specimen or accent plant for the front of tropical borders, rock gardens, and seaside gardens. Also suitable as a container plant and can be grown indoors.