The Cardboard Palm Tree, scientific name Zamia furfuracea, is a shrubby looking plant that is usually used indoors as a houseplant or outdoors underneath large palm trees. The Cardboard Palm is also known as Cardboard Plant, Cardboard Sago, Cardboard Cycad, Jamaican Sago, and Mexican Cycad.
Zamia furfuracea is not real palm but rather a cycad, like Sago Palm. Cardboard Palm grows in clumps and can get up to 5-10ft tall and 5-8ft wide. Younger palm grows at a slower rate but accelerates after forming a trunk.
Zamia furfuracea has a short think fleshy trunk covered with old leaf bases. Trunk collects water that is used during drought. The Cardboard Palm has pinnate, feathery-like, leaves which grow from the center of the trunk reaching 3-4ft long. Leaves are olive green, overlapping, with a fuzzy surface that looks like they are made of plastic. They feel like cardboard to the touch, hence the name Cardboard Palm.
The circular crowns of leaves looks like a cross between fern and palm tree. They form a symmetrical rosette growing upright in full sun and horizontal in shade. Thick leaves are covered with thick oval leaflets which are about 5 inches long and 1 inch wide.
The Cardboard Palm has male and female reproductive system on separate plants. It produces interesting shaped cones, egg-shaped on the female plant and long oval-shaped on the male. When ripe, the female cone breaks to reveal bright red seeds, about 1 inch long. This fruit is not eatable and is known to be toxic to dogs and cats.
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