Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Lepidozamia hopei (W.Hill) Regel

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Male cone. © CSIRO
Dehiscing cone. © CSIRO
Fruiting cone and arillous seeds. © CSIRO
Fruiting cone and arillous seeds. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Regel, E.A. von (1876) Gartenflora 25 : 5.

Common name

Zamia Palm; Hope's Cycad; Palm, Zamia


Usually a single-stemmed, palm-like tree with no branches of any kind. Bark exudate very sticky, slow and meagre. Sections of bark included in the wood or alternate layers of bark and wood in the stem.


Compound leaf with about 150 or more leaflets, each with 15-25 veins running parallel with the margins but lacking any obvious midrib. Leaflet blades about 20-40 x 1.5-3 cm, arising from the middle of the rhachis.


Male flowers: Flowers (microsporophylls) in a cone about 25-30 x 20 cm. Female flowers: Flowers (sporophylls) also produced in a cone, probably of similar dimensions.


Fruits produced in a large ovoid cone about 40-60(or more) x 20-25(-30) cm. Seeds covered with a bright red sarcotesta when ripe, seeds about 4-5.5(-6.2) x 2.5-3.5 cm.


First leaf stage: leaflet blades linear, about 8-14 in each compound leaf. Root swollen, carrot-like (Daucus carota). At the tenth leaf stage: leaflets linear, glabrous, sessile, subopposite, about 24-50 in the compound leaf, about 10-15 parallel veins run from base to apex. Stem remaining very short and swelling at or below ground level. Compound leaf rhachis ending in a mucronate structure. Compound leaf including the petiole and rhachis about 1 m long. Seed germination time 228 to 382 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, restricted to the area between Cape Tribulation and Cardwell. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 600 m. Grows as an understory tree in well developed lowland and upland rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit eaten by Cassowaries, seed aril is eaten by native rats. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

This palm-like plant with large glossy leaves would make an attractive addition to any garden. Will grow in full sunlight but does best in partial shade also grows well in a large container.

Macrozamia denisonii var. hopei (Regel) Schust., Das Pflanzenreich Heft 99 : 101(1932). Catakidozamia hopei W.Hill, The Gardener's Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette for 1865 : 1107(1865), Type: Based on a living plant grown by Haage & Schmidt. Fide K. D. Hill (1998) Flora Australia. Macrozamia hopei C.Moore, Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales 17: 116(1883), Type: Mr. Hill, the late Director of Brisbane Botanic Gardens, discovered in Queensland.
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