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Can the pot of the ZZ plant become poisonous? Should you believe rumors?
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Loddiges)Engl.
Arum Fern. Zamiacaulcas zamiafolia. Chinese Gold Coin Plant and incorrectly "Succulent Philodendron" . Zu Zu Plant. "lancifolia" and strangely Caladium zamiaefolium (the basionym) Common names: Aroid Palm. ZZ Plant. Synonyms: Zamioculcas loddigesii. Z.Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Loddiges)Engl. Money Tree. Eternity Plant. Zanzibar Gem. Chinese New Year Festive Plant. Fat Boy. Zamioculcas lanceolata.
by botanists Dr. Although it is true those countries have a dry period that condition does not last year round! There is also a very wet period of heavy rain. enhancing and elaborating on it repeatedly. An unusual aroid (member of the family Araceae) the ZZ grows naturally in eastern Africa primarily in the countries of Zanzibar and Tanzania. Like much of the misleading information found on the internet it is commonly believed the ZZ plant is found in the desert but aroid science states there are no aroid species found in desert terrain anywhere in the world. Money Tree. but is more common in evergreen seasonal forests and savannas. or not to water? If you find the advice on the internet difficult to believe or it just doesn't work read the article and you'll understand why the ZZ needs water! The basis for the information on this page can be found in the scientific text The Genera of Araceae.To water. Boyce. That information can be confirmed in the text The Genera of Araceae. and posting some enhanced notion on another website again and again. These stories have been spread for years on the internet about aroids but no scientific foundation can be found.5 feet) or larger in height. J. ZAM-e-eye-FOL-e-a) is a sub-erect herb which sometimes grows to 0. The ZZ plant. Aroid Palm. Known by many regional as well as poorly devised common names including Zanzibar Gem. Eternity Plant. On page 46 you can read. palm nor Philodendron but it is in the same family as the genus Philodendron which is also an aroid or member of the plant family Araceae. "Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a succulent plant which stores water in its thick petioles and is sometimes found in very dry habitats. This quote came from retired Research Chemist . Bogner and P." Internet discussion groups include the bogus notion the ZZ plant is so poisonous a clay pot cannot be used for another plant or can be dangerous to touch. Such rumors are based on reading untrue information on another website. An aroid. Simon Mayo . the Chinese New Year Festive Plant.75 meters (2. Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZAM-e-o-CUL-cas.C. Succulent Philodendron and Arum Fern the plant is popular around the globe Zamioculcas zamiifolia is neither a fern. Commonly known as the ZZ plant due to its unusual scientific name t he plant is one of only a few species that can be started from a single leaf blade. Zamiioculcas zamiifolia is found in a region of Africa which has extreme growing conditions. It is commonly found growing in rocky areas as well as on stone in its native region of the African continent.
Okra. Onion. Celery. Just because something may taste really bad does not mean it will kill you. "Just a quick check on Google ("Zamioculcas" and "poison") did not find anything substantive. Brussels sprouts. Cauliflower. It is true some aroids can be very distasteful and may even cause severe pain in the mouth and throat but to claim they are "deadly poisonous" is without merit. Spinach. I know of NO science whatsoever to back -up these claims. Sweet potato. Some sellers advertise Zamioculcas zamiifolia as a "new plant" but in truth Zamioculcas zamiifolia has been around since the beginning of time but commercially. Aroids that have an underground starch storage until only grow from a tuber. Z. Eggplant. Broccoli. Watercress. zamiifolia is found naturally growing in both dry grassland as well as lowland forests on rocky lightly shaded terrain but infrequently in deep shade. Pepper. As far as I can tell. Pea. "The best one circulating here in Malaysia is that the pollen alone is enough to cause death in adult humans. Despite incorrect found on the internet this species does not grow from a bulb or a corm. Deciduous is the natural dropping of the leaves during the dry season. Asparagus. The genus name Zamioculcas was derived due to a vague similarity to the foliage of group known as cycads which are found in the genus Zamia. Garlic. ." Noted aroid botanist Peter Boyce in Malaysia responded. The best possible advice is to simply not put an aroid leaf in your mouth! If you are prone to believe falsely elaborated internet rumors please read this link which provides information based in science: Calcium oxalate crystals The species was described to science in 1905. Lettuce. Bean. Potato. Beet leaves. Turnip greens." If you believe the plant is dangerous because it contains calcium oxalate crystals you should know that the same chemical su bstance is found in Parsley. Cassava.and aroid expert Ted Held. Cabbage. Chives. The species appears to enjoy moderately bright light and is commonly becomes deciduous during dormancy. the plant has been sold since the year 2000. The genus Zamia is in the family Zamiaceae which contains fern-like plants native to tropical and subtropical America while the ZZ plant is in the family Araceae. The tubercles regularly develop at the juncture of a leaflet and petiole. Tomato. Carrot. Cucumbers. Corn and other vegetables most of us eat on a daily basis. Once the leaflets begin to drop it is not uncommon for them to form a bulblet or tubercle at the end of the petiole. Squash. Collards. These leaf tubercles allow the regeneration of a new plant. Radish. Despite the general appearance there is no scientific relationship between Zamioculcas zamiifolia and plants in the genus Zamia. Turnip. this appears to be hysteria.
" "Regeneration of tubers. leaves and roots from leaf segments is well known in Zamioculcas zamiifolia and Gonotapus boivinii (Engler 1881. followed by the formation of roots and up to 3 buds. 1994). the petiole apex and at the apex of the sheath (Sriboonma et al. Cutter 1962). Once the rainy season arrives the habitat is no longer dry and the plant has managed to survive by duplicating itself but can grow very well in a wetter growing situation. Leaf regeneration in Gonatopus is more rapid. Being able to survive without water is a survival characteristic. When the leaflets fall to the ground they attempt to replicate themselves as a natural reproductive process by growing a tuber which forms naturally at the junction of the petiole and the stem but roots may develop from other parts of the leaflet. 1994) and at the first and second order divisions of the leaf of Amorphophallus bulbifer (Troll 1939) Tubercles in Pinellia may also form spontaneously along the petiole or can be induced in the basal part by cutting into segments (Linsbauer 1934). This tuber is correctly known as a stem which extends upwards to support the petioles and leaflets. The stem (central axis) of the plant is partially found underground as a tuber. The scientific text. The Genera of Araceae states this type of leaf to plant regeneration is not common under the heading Leaf tubercles and regeneration: "Tubercles regularly develop at the juncture of leaflet and petiole in Pinellia ternata (Hansen 1881. over a 6-9 week period for Zamioculcas. The results of experimental manipulation of isolated leaflets grown in culture show that any part of the compound leaf is capable of regeneration". Schubert 1913. The petioles are technically a part of the leaf and during the wet season both the stem and petiole swell to store water as do succulents. at the apical end of petiole in Typhonium bulbiferum (Sriboonma et al. Those leaflets are then capable of regenerating a new plant. not a normal growing condition so the ability to store water in . Despite the information offered the plant needs water like any other plant and is more inclined to drop all the leaves if not watered! During the native dry season Zamicoculcas zamiifolia does become totally deciduous and commonly looses all its leaflets while it waits for the rainy season to return. Isolated entire leaflets of Zamioculcas and Gonatopus spontaneously develop a basal swelling.Since the plant can tolerate long periods without water the internet is filled with half truths about this species that are not scientifically accurate. Tubercles may develop in Typhonium violifolium at the leaf apex. The petiole is the stalk that supports the leaf while the stem is the plant's central axis. A compound leaf is composed of a number of leaflets on a common stalk. Troll 1939). Linsbauer 1934. The parts that appears to be a leaf are truly a leaflet or a part of a compound leaf.
Recommending to rarely or never water a specimen is very poor advice since the plant needs both a wet season along with a somewhat drier period. not the house plant grower. This link explains the difference between a stem and a petiole. In truth the condition is a natural part of . It would at least appear some sellers prefer not to tell customers to expect the plant to drop its leaves if kept dry since you are more likely to just buy a new plant.a water retention structure is vital to the long term survival of the species. Although commonly called "stems" by growers in all plants the petioles are the stalks that support each leaf or leaflet and should not be called "stems". Leaving the plant constantly dry will only result in the eventual loss of the leaves. Those are the same "rules" which advise growers to rarely water the plant. Just because a pant can endure a drought does not indicate it prefers a drought. If you check garden websites you will read where house plant growers commonly ask why their ZZ plant is "dying" and loosing all the leaves when they are "following the rules". Using this unique survival ability house plant growers may be able to grow their own plant using this unique characteristics by placing a leaf with a petiole in a sandy soil mix with the adaxial surface (upper side) facing upwards. Quite simply. You may just be lucky enough to grow a new plant but be aware the process is not rapid! The majority of websites simply pass along growing ideas promoted by plant sellers which sometimes work to the benefit of the seller. those "rules" are not correct! Because they don't understand what the term deciduous means house plant growers tend to panic and think their plant is about to die. Since tubers can be regenerated at the junction of the leaflet's petiole and stem this is one method a new plant is naturally propagated. This characteristic is limited in the family Araceae (aroids) to Zamioculcas zamiifolia and Gonotopus bovinnii. Even though many sites incorrectly recommend to rarely water the plant if you read a scientific text written by a botanical expert you will learn the ZZ plant endures a long period of wet followed by the normal dry season. Had the plant been watered regularly there is no reason for the deciduous period to even begin. Keep the high humidity in the container by covering with with clear plastic in moderately bright light.
the plant's growth and reproductive cycle. Following Mother Nature's example the soil mixture should be close to that used for cacti and should contain some soil along with a greater volume of sand. It appears sellers are actually promoting this plant as a house plant because they claim you can forget to water it for long periods of time. The information to use rich soil is not based in science since the plant grows naturally in fast draining sandy soil. In most cases. The end result is rapidly rotting roots and eventually a dead plan t. The loss of all the leaflets does not indicate a plant is almost dead but simply suffering as a result of a genetic survival ability and poor growing growing conditions. It is likely a very large number of plants are thrown away every year once all the leaflets drop because the grower incorrectly believes it is dead. If you starve a plant for water the plant is going to do exactly what Nature designed it to do! Some sites including eHow also give very poor advice on how to grow the plant including recommending the use of "ric h soil". Even though a specimen can survive for an amazingly long period of time in rich soil that holds water that does not mean the plant enjoys the condition in which it is being forced to survive. Even though nature has designed the species to survive with little water that does not mean it should be purposely dehydrated! The assumption the ZZ plant should be kept dry year round is a total internet myth and house plant seller's fabrication. A saprophyte is an organism such as a fungus or bacterium that grows on and derives nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter. unless the plant has endured a very long spell without water. but not indefinitely! The plant may survive but it will also not prosper and in time will look quite bad just as your cat or dog would look terrible if not fed and watered. For short periods perhaps. gravel and materials including Perlite that will slowly allow the roots to gather moisture while not being starved for oxygen. it can be easily saved with time and water! This message came from aroid botanist Peter Boyce who is one of the authors of The Genera of Araceae published by the Royal Botanic Garden . Just as a human or animal can uncomfortably survive for periods of time with no food and water so can the ZZ plant. The plant should be regularly watered but not allowed to stay wet! In nature the ZZ can survive for long periods only as a naked stem but as a house plant it certainly won't be attractive without the leaflets. Rich soil eventually suffocates as well as "drowns" a specimen causing the roots to rot due to the growth of saprophytes. When the roots of Zamioculcas zamiifolia are kept in wet soil they cannot easily gather oxygen and thus begin to decay.
They differ only due to natural variation. Here we grow it either in pots of red soil (mainly derived from local ultisols of pH 4-5) mixed with 1/5 bulk coarse sand to give a water permeable mix that is high in nutrients.Kew in London. 5 m per annum) or in times of no rain then from hand watering. southern Mexico. Instead the ZZ produces an inflorescence with a spathe and spadix. A plant raised from a single leaflet will carry 12 . they are naturally found only in the Neotropics and not in Africa or Asia. In such conditions plants grow very quickly. In both 'habitats' plants will receive water virtually every day either from rainfall (Kuching receives ca. or in the open ground in medium shade.15 leaves and ca. The genus Philodendron is found only in the Neotropics which include the Caribbean. Zamioculcas zamiifolia does not produce a "flower". Although Philodendron are grown by individuals all over the world. 75 cm tall within a year.e. There are very tiny flowers on the spadix when it is ready to be pollinated. who regard it as lucky (i. Variation is explained later in this article. but you would need a magnifying glass to see them. Pete lives and works in Malaysia. The majority of specimens sold in discount nurseries are not grown from seed but instead created in a laboratory by a chemical process . producing a new leaf every 3 . Despite information on a few websites this species is not a Philodendron. All the synonym names listed above are now considered to be the same species: Zamioculcas zamiifolia. Most Zamioculcas zamiifolia are mass produced for sale." Since Pete was quoting temperatures in Celsius it should be noted those temps would be the equivalent of very warm in the United States. especially with the Chinese. The one caveat to giving so much water is that our temperatures are permanently high.4 weeks. bringing in money) by the way it can regenerate by the leaflets. "It is a very popular plant. The common name "succulent Philodendron" is a very poor choice for a common name! Zamioculcas zamiifolia is also not an orchid nor a palm even though at least one website is saying the species is an orchid! Orchid species produce very distinctive flowers which always contain three petals and three sepals. as well as Central and South America. minimum 22 C nighttime and 28 C daytime with maxima of 26 C and 36 C respectively. The only relationship between the genus Philodendron (over 1000 species) and the genus Zamioculcas (containing one species) is both genera are aroids. Humidity averages 80%..
plant size and other characteristics is common. from the Greek "bainein" meaning step. The difference in all the names appears to have been only the size of the plant or other non-significant differences due to natural variation. Interestingly the basionym for the species is Caladium zamiaefolium even though the only relationship between the genus Zamioculcas and the genus Caladium is both are aroids. 2005. Pg. A basionym is the first step in the naming process. The genetic material was extracted from an adult plant. The final determination of the species is found within the of the inflorescence of the plant which contains the sexual parts. This strange plant has been reported on some websites to reach a maximum height of approximately 50cm or 20 inches. pg. but Zamioculcas zamiifolia can grow much larger. We have many different faces. The confusion arose many years ago when botanists had yet to clearly define all the species in the family Araceae and simply had no idea which genus properly fit the strange plant. 149 of "The Genera of Araceae" by S. The debate is a result of a discovery by aroid botanists who have recently been required t hrough scientific study to combine all the synonyms (other names for the same species) into the single species of Zamioculcas zamiifolia. by Josef Bogner.known as tissue culture (TC or cloning). and P. The word is composed of "basio" from the Latin meaning basis. If those sexual parts are the same from plant to plant then they are the same species. Within aroids variation in leaf shape. Bogner. Even though you will later read in this article a reference to "other species". Mayo.C. As a result many aroid species have mul tiple characteristics which serve to confuse novice collectors. 3. and "nym" also from the Latin word "nomen" which means name. as presently understood. Consider natural variation to be like human beings. Once the plants begin to form they are then grown in multi chambered trays before being sold to a commercial grower who transfers each plant to an individual pot. replicated in a laboratory and grown in a lab dish. "The genus East African Zamioculcas. skin color and body sizes but is only a single species of human beings. You may note that in the . J. A basionym is the original name applied to the taxon (species). hair color. Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Loddiges) Engler. Boyce. consists of just one widespread but variable species. At one time the species names including Zamioculcas loddigesii. This may be confirmed by reading the two most recent works on the genus. and a recent update in "Aroideana". noted and frequently published aroid expert Julius Boos pointed out in a post on the aroid discussion forum Aroid l (L). Vol 28.J. Zamiacaulcas zamiifolia and Zamioculcas lanceolata were considered to be unique species but all are now considered to be the single species Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
You have likely seen an aroid inflorescence if you have ever grown a Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum). "lancifolia" is a synonym of Z. On any aroid that spathe is not a flower but is instead simply a modified leaf." Aroideana is the annual publication of the International Aroid Society. Little is known by science as to the sexual reproduction of this aroid species. it is easily reproduced from a single leaf. Aroids are a fairly large group of approximately 3300 species of plants that reproduce by the production of an inflorescence (see photo below of the spathe and spadix of Zamioculcas zamiifolia).article in Aroideana. From illustrations of the spadix of this genus it would appear that there is a vary narrow sterile zone . 7. The berries grow on the sides of the upright spadix at the center of t he spathe and the pair is known as an inflorescence. Julius explains. The ZZ plant normally produces one to two inflorescences during its natural reproductive period. pg. However. In other words they produce spadices consisting of separate zones. "I believe that there may not be photos of fruit developing on this most interesting African aroid Zamioculcas zamiifolia because it is so easy to reproduce by just sticking a leaflet in the soil as is its close relative Gonotopus! Zamioculcas belongs to the group of aroids which produce unisexual blooms. 4-6. brown berries will develop on the spadix and those berries are ellipsoid in shape and will produce seeds. zamioculcas. If pollinated by an appropriate insect. figs. The female zone is at the base with the male zone and sometimes with one or rarely a couple of sterile zones arranged above the female zone. Josef notes that Z.
The female flowers which are receptive to pollen are separated from the male flowers which produce that pollen via a zone of sterile male flowers. One may have to carefully cut away a bit of the spath e to get at the female zone. A single molecule of that pheromone can be detected at great distances by the olfactory senses of the male insect. perha ps ants or terrestrial beetles in its home range! If one is successful in pollination and fruit/seed production. to speculate what insects or birds or mammals might be the distributors!" A peduncle is the stalk-like support for an inflorescence and is the internode between the spathe and the last foliage leaf.between the female and male zones. the peduncle which is always short and is the structure that supports t he inflorescence curves in to move the inflorescence towards the ground to the point of contact. to a male insect that pheromone may smell similar to the female of his own species who is ready to be impregnated. Although not completely documented. It is unknown for certain if this species is capable of self pollination and science is not currently aware of the exact insect species involved in the process. It may take a few attempts to get the timing right as I speak in general terms here. It should be a fairly simple matter for an owner of one of these plants at maturity (and with several blooms developing/opening). I have always been interested in the pollinators and strategy for pollination which Zamioculcas seems to employ. As the spathe reaches sexual maturity it reflexes once the small female flowers along the spadix are ready to be pollinated. The male of that insect species is attracted to the mature female flowers which grow along the spadix by a unique pheromone or perfume. seemingly to provide a ramp or ''red carpet'' to facilitate visiting insects walking on the ground. Once ready. As they mature they lean over on the peduncle and as they open the spathe sort of unrolls toward ground level. The spadix is known to have a bi-sexual inflorescence containing the male. to select the most mature bloom when it is at male anthesis after the bloom has opened fully and is visibly producing pollen and to collect pollen on a small brush wetted with distilled water and transfer this pollen to the female zone of another younger bloom just as it is beginning to open. The blooms are produced on short peduncles almost at ground level. sterile male and female flowers in distinct zones. it will be most interesting to learn what strategy is employed by this plant for dispersal of its fruit and seed. This technique is used to prevent self pollination but in some species that is still possible. As with virtually all aroids and numerous other plant species a single insect pollinator species has been assigned the task of collecting pollen from a plant producing mature male flowe rs at male anthesis and then transports that pollen to the sexually mature female flowers of another plant during female anthesis. . based on the size and texture of its fruit and seeds. Pollination of Zamioculcas zamiifolia is caused by a unique set of circumstances devised by nature.
This link offers a more complete explanation in non -technical language regarding natural variation and morphogenesis within aroid species Natural variation.D. C roat does not specialize in African species. Most experts advise not to keep the roots of this species in mud and to avoid "off the shelf" potting soil mixes. a structure known to botany as pinnate leaves. If you are interested in learning more about aroid pollination please find the link at the bottom of this page which will lead you to a basic introduction into aroid sexual reproduction. some botanists and numerous professional aroid growers from all over the world this question via the discussion group Aroid l (L). 2007 one of the world's best known aroid botanists. the goal of the plant appears to be to reach the ground thus facilitating possible ground dwelling pollinators such as an ant or beetle to climb into the tiny blooms in to spread pollen from other specimens to the female flowers thus causing pollination. The plant's structure is likely to have led to the common name "Aroid Palm". P. .A. Louis. the entire process is explained in detail in the scientific text The Genera of Araceae by botanists Dr. Boyce on page 146 and following. Bogner and P. Dr. researchers. If you elect to read it bring along a botanical dictionary. For those scientifically inclined. Pinnate leaves are those arranged similar to the fronds of a palm. MO. Zamioculcas zamiifolia grows with all its glossy leaves facing in one direction. The species is highly variable and there are specimens that are substantially taller than the published "maximum" height on some websites. If you have attempted to pot your plant in Miracle Grow or other soggy soil repot it now! Since this species is an aroid. Simon Mayo." The answers were varied and surprising! "The plant is nearly bullet proof. J. Croat Ph.C. in the first week of August. Individual specimens attain a variety of sizes largely due to growing conditions. experts.. You should be aware this text is quite costly and written using scientific terminology.As explained by Julius. Experienced growers who understand aroid species frequently recommend planting a specimen in well draining soil such as a moisture control mix with more than 50% sand and Perlite added. If you grow it in a house it will grow very slowly. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Dr. asked a group of well qualified aroid growers. Does it require special care? I would appreciate it if anyone has any advise. Thomas B. We have it in the greenhouse where it thrives but do any of you grow it in your house. "A colleague here at the Gardens asks what are the best soil conditions and general care for this species.
in a room with no natural light and rare waterings after a year it looked the same. Moved to the greenhouse fed and watered it. both on what research will tell you the plant wants." Many of these folks are professionals and botanical experts. some moisture and then a dry season. The plant is watered as often as all the other tropical aroids and does just fine! It is in very loose soil with lots of sand added. Mine was 10 cm tall.In a greenhouse it will grow like mad. It can be grown in an orchid compost (tough or graded bark mixed with an equiv volume of peat moss) or peat moss . especially if your specimen is not "growing like a weed" . it is just feet away from my large Anthurium regale. and mine as well." "Keep it well drained. it seems the people who water it more may actually have better results with better growth and a healthier plant! The key appears to be in having well draining sandy soil.peat 3:1 mix. But other than that. Every grower needs to do their own research and find what works best. But my daughter read it was an aroid so she got it for me. It may eventually not survive. but not much . flowered. It got some sun. If your plant is in soggy potting soil get it out! Aroid Pollination! . As for how much to water the answer appears to be water as much as you like but if you want it to prosper more than you are likely offering the plant right now. We planted ours in an upper planter pocket in the rain forest simulation at UNC Charlotte. That just didn't fit into the way I grow aroids in my tropical atrium. I read everything i could find and according to what I can locate Zamioculcas zamiifolia enjoys drier arid conditions. where it was fairly well drained but pretty constant moisture as well. It got real good sized for us under those conditions. and on what his reality was. and good moisture. I wasn't crazy about the thing. To be honest. I got an over watered one and I kept it dry for 2 months now it looks better. Just put it in sandy soil and do your thing! In fact. it likes water in the rainy season and little moisture during the dry season. we don't do anything special. and it just thrived. Supposedly.perlite (5-0 mm) equiv mix or in sand (5-0 mm) . so I just planted it! In fact. others simply collectors." "My daughter gave me one about two years ago. and in a year it was more than a meter tall. the whole nine yards." "I agree with what (name removed) reported. Obviously there is no single path to the perfect growing of Zamioculcas zamiifolia . well drained soil.just good bright light. but for several years it has tolerated my "tropical conditions" well.
exoticrainforest.com/Join%20IAS.html Back To Aroids and other genera in the Collection .As it occurs in nature and by any horticulturist Want to learn more about aroids? Join the International Aroid Society: http://www.