ZZ plant

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Anne Taylor, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    I encountered a new plant today. ZZ plant. Tropical. Very lush looking. ( OK.. so it got me thinking about ZZ TOP and singing toi myself " every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed plant "... you know) ....Anyway the store clerk told it was a cycad. Now I stopped believing in everthing plantstore clerks tell me, some time ago. But this ZZ name is not exactly in the indexes of my house plant books.
    Darn nice looking plant though.
    Has anyone recognised this name .... Is it a cycad?
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Its latin name is Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
     
  3. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks Junglekeeper,
    Now that I can look it up I can find out if I'd like to invest in it. I have a huge sunroom and I want some chioce plant material for it. Not many, just the right ones.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Looked this one up - it is an aroid (family Araceae), not a cycad.

    While most aroids are bog plants, this one isn't, it likes fairly dry conditions and is easily killed by overwatering
     
  5. Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor Active Member 10 Years

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    Hey thanks, even better! I'm sure with my record of not watering things in the sunroom with any regularity at all, it may even survive. Has anyone actually grown one of these?
     
  6. schizac

    schizac Member

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    ZZ is a truly wonderful house plant in my experience. I purchased one (Ikea) two years ago and liked it so much I now have 3. Very easy and I like it's architecture, not too formal/symmetrical.
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Not sure where you got the info that most aroids are bog plants. Few aroids live in bog conditions. There are a few, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Some alocasias as well as colocasias would fit that rule. Many collectable aroids are from the tropics and are found in Central America and South America in rain forest conditions. They love a lot of water but don't particularly like to have their roots in water. This is a direct quote from a recent email exhange I had with America's top aroid botanist, Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden, "Few aroids grow in standing water but I think that what happens is that the plants adapt by having the roots skim the water to collect both water and still get air. They seem to be able to stand water better if there is no soil. For example you can put a Dieffenbachia directly into a pail of water and it seems to thrive. Tom". This discussion was as a result of another discussion on UBC suggesting Anthurium regale should be grown in water.

    A large number of aroids are epiphytes (a plant that grows on another plant) and are found growing on the trunks and in the branches of trees. If you are truly interested in aroids I'd suggest you consider joining the International Aroid Society (IAS). Dues are inexpensive for what you get. And one thing you can benefit from is by joining the IAS Aroid L discussion group. Dr. Croat is a regular contributor and keeps most "aroiders" straight. The IAS website can be easily found on the net.

    Zamioculcas zamiifolia is from Zanzibar and Tanzania in eastern Africa. A truly strange aroid, the habitat is dry grassland and lowland forests on rocky lightly shaded terrain. This is one aroid that requires a substantial dry period in order to survive. It is one of the few aroids that can be reproduced by simply taking a leaf and placing it on the soil where it will root and grow a new plant. This characteristic is unknown in aroids other than the Zamioculcadeae. Z. zamiifolia can tolerate low water, low light and some neglect for periods of time which often serves to make it a good houseplant. Here's a link with a bit more information: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Zamioculcas zamiifolia pc.html
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Steve,

    Guess I should have said "most temperate aroids are bog plants" - the ones us temperate gardeners are used to, like Arum maculatum and Lysichiton americanus.
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Can't argue that. Those of us who collect aroids tend to love the tropical species since there are thousands of them. Those tend not to like bogs all that much.
     
  10. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

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    I wonder how your temperate and tropical plants have migrated? More likely from the tropics to the temperate as the numbers and varieties exist more in the tropics than the temperate.
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    That's the received wisdom, and likely true in most cases. There are exceptions, such as some pines like Pinus ayacahuite, which are thought to be relatively recent arrivals in the tropics from further north.
     
  12. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    In my atrium we do our best to duplicate the conditions in Ecuador since that is where most of our specimens originate. Our humidity is controlled at 85% plus all the time. Most of the time water is dripping from the ceiling so the humidity is closer to 100%. The temp stays 60 degrees to 85 degrees the majority of the time. On exceptionally cold nights it might drop to 55 but never lower. In the summer we rarely get temps above 90 degrees due the where the greenhouse is situated in relationship to trees around the building. In the center of the room is a 2000 gallon plus pond with a waterfall which helps to stabilize and maintain the humidity. And I water daily in the summer, 3 or more days a week in winter. The majority of the plants are planted in the ground which was specially prepared to be tropical and is very porous and fast draining. Most epiphytes are allowed to climb large posts or "fake logs" made of rolled cork bark wrapped around large PVC pipes. In short, we set out from the beginning to create a botanical garden in a private setting. One member of the International Aroid Society who recently visited said the had not seen plants grow as large in captive growth outside a major botanical garden. In short, i doubt our plants have adapted at all. We have adapted to provide them what they expect and need which is why they are growing as fast and large as they do. I now have an Anthurium regale with a spathe and spadix. The largest leaf is 29 inches (73cm). The plant has just entered female anthesis two days ago and is being documented on the web daily. My eventual goal is collect pollen and freeze it so the next time we grow a spathe I can attempt to pollinate the plant and hopefully produce seeds. These plants often sell for upwards of $100 each so being able to grow a few plans from seed would be quite a personal accomplishment. According to the experts I speak with regularly this has happened only once in captive growth that anyone is aware of. My goal has been from the beginning to duplicate nature rather than try to force the plants to survive in the conditions horticulturists often provide. You're welcome to see the results by taking the "rainforest tour" at www.ExoticRainforest.com So far I've posted well over 100 species on the site not counting the orchids and have at least another 50 species to go. Those not counting the new ones I add all the time! And of course, if you are in the NW Arkansas area you are welcome to visit the atrium. Steve Lucas
     
  13. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    "That's the received wisdom, and likely true in most cases. There are exceptions, such as some pines like Pinus ayacahuite, which are thought to be relatively recent arrivals in the tropics from further north."

    I'm not sure I understand your point since pines are not aroids.
     
  14. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

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    Wow, photopro, a truly exciting tour.
    I came from the tropics and had on numerous occasions regreted my lack of interest in the flora and faunna of my homeland. Your tour has brought back a tender longing to be home again. I haven't come across a more exotic tropical garden than yours and your description of plants is very professional. You have been a great inspiration to me and many viewers I am sure.
    I thank you for allowing me this pleasure.
     
  15. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I'm honored Jamkh! I have loved exotic plants for over 20 years. When my wife "announced" we were moving from South Florida to Arkansas almost 6 years ago I didn't argue. I just said "I'm taking the plants". In Miami I just kept them in the back yard but here I had to literally build a "rainforest". It is been fun and extremely educational. I've made a lot of friends through sites like this one and often learn a lot by reading the posts here and on Aroid L. It is amazing how much you can learn if you listen carefully to what others have learned by growing their own plants. The big problem is sometimes getting past the less than accurate advice that is passed around as "old wives' tales" from grower to grower. But sites like UBC are great for learning new things. Glad you enjoyed the tour and I hope it does remind you of your home country.

    Steve Lucas
     
  16. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Jamkh's query appeared to be about plants in general, not just aroids.
     
  17. jamkh

    jamkh Active Member

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    You are both correct in your observations. My first sentence refer to plants in general, however my second would be about aroids, in particular.
    I believe plants in their tenancy to migrate due to their different methods of seed and fruit dispersal behave in an odd way like animals and humans who like to move away from their natural habitat often due to overcrowding. In time due to environmental changes and stress, genetic fluctuations and mutations occur to give rise to specieation. Then natural selection comes into play and saturate these new species in their new environment. I guess the study of fossils would provide a clue to the locale where each specie had its original home. This would make an interesting study on the plant's origin.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  18. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Interesting idea. If you wish to get input from a real tropical plant expert I suggest you post this question on Aroid L. Its free to anyone who wants to participate. Both Dr. Tom Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Dr. Dr. Eduardo Gonçalves (gon-ZAL-vas) of the Universidade Catolica de Brasilia (Brazil) are regular participants. I believe Eduardo is currently on vacation. Numerous other botanists read the posts and try to offer good answers. I'm aware of a few "tropical" plants that can survive in North America outside of Florida, but the number is quite small. Amorphophallus species would be the first to come to mind. The International Aroid Society also has a list of aroids that are considered tropical that can survive in colder climates. These experts just might have some insight.
     

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