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Accepted Scientific Name: Cycas media R.Br.
Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holland. 348 (1810). R.Br.
Origin and Habitat: Cycas kennedyana is widely distributed in the ranges of coastal and nearby inland central of Queensland (Australia) between Rockhampton and Bowen ( Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Bowen and Cardwell). On Mt Morgan, C. kennedyana grows together with the cycad Macrozamia miquelii.
Habitat and ecology: This species grows in scattered colonies, in somewhat dry localities on shallow stony soil, under open eucalypt forest generally on steep hill slopes, or in the valleys adjacent, terrain being hard and slightly rocky. It is also found growing thickly on the slopes of Mount Morgan west of Rockhampton.
- Cycas kennedyana F.Muell.
Cycas media R.Br.
Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holland. 348 (1810).
- Cycas media R.Br.
- Cycas gracilis Miq.
- Cycas gracilis var. glauca Regel
- Cycas gracilis var. viridis Regel
- Cycas kennedyana F.Muell.
- Cycas media var. inermis A.DC.
- Cycas media f. inermis Miq.
- Cycas normanbyana F.Muell.
- Cycas rumphii subs. normanbyana (F.Muell.) J.Schust.
Cycas media subs. banksii K.D.Hill
Telopea 7: 15 (1996)
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Cycas media subs. ensata K.D.Hill
Tabl. École Bot. 7: 14 (1996)
ENGLISH: Old Zamia Palm, Queensland Zamia Plant
Description: The Queensland Zamia Plant (Cycas kennedyana) is a distinctive arborescent palm like cycads that commonly grows to a height of 1 to 4 m with a trunk of 15 to 30 cm in diameter. It holds a spreading crown of numerous, blue to pale blue-green, flexuose leaves around 1-2 m in length. The leaflets are glabrous, around 4-15 mm wide and are angled upwards in a V shaped manner similar to Cycas revoluta, the edges of the leaflets are slightly recurved at the margins.
Taxonomical notes: Today Cycas kennedyana is considered just as one of the innumerable local phenotypes of the very variable Cycas media distinguished by a trunk 10-35 cm thick rising to two or four metres with a compact crown and often with microsporophyll without an ascendant pointed apex. Cycas kennedyana appears extremely varied in appearance at different localities. Every enthusiast studying Australian indigenous flora, knows just how diverse and variable to extremes the morphological or geographical forms can be. The variability however appears to fall within the natural variation of Cycas media R.Br. subsp. media and it should be fully synonymized it.
Derivation of specific name: This species was named "kennedyana" in honour of Sir Arthur Kennedy, the Governor of Queensland.
Stem: 1-4 m tall, (10-)20-30(-35) cm thick.
Leaves (fronds): Fronds rise from the apex in a neat palmlike crest, they are 1-1.5(-2) m long, blue-grey to pale blue-green above, very glaucous beneath; the fronds twist and curve being very flexuous. Leaflets up to 100 pairs, flat, acute, linear, decurrent at the base, shiny, glabrous, the lower ones spine-like. The usual circinate new fronds are very attractive being fawn in the rachis and light powder blue in the uncoiling pinnae. Old fronds hang pendant in a ring around the top of the caudex.
Male cones: (15-)20-30 cm long, 10-15 cm in diameter, oval, covered with velvety rusty brown hairs.
Female spikes (macrosporophylls): Like other Cycas species, the female plants do not bear true “cones”; instead they carry ovules and seeds on fleshy, megasporophylls that are open leaf-like structures. The megasporophylls in this species are covered with velvety hairs. Circular ovules observed were generally 4 to a megasporophyll and the head of this is acutely pointed, having only tiny serrations along its edges.
Seeds: About 4 cm long, globular, brownish or yellowish brown at maturity, and similar to Cycas media.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Cycas media group
- Cycas kennedyana F.Muell.: (= Cycas media R.Br. subsp. media) has a trunk 10-35 cm thick 2-4 m tall. Microsporophyll often without an ascendant pointed apex. It is extremely variable. Distribution: Central of Queensland between Rockhampton and Bowen.
- Cycas media R.Br.: (subsp. media) leaflets 5-7 mm wide, margins distinctly recurved; seeds more than 32 mm diameter. Longest cataphylls 60-90 mm long. Distribution: Cardwell to around St Lawrence, Queensland, Australia.
- Cycas media subs. banksii K.D.Hill: leaflets 7-10 mm wide, margins slightly recurved; seeds up to 32 mm diameter. Longest cataphylls less than 90 mm long. Distribution: S of Cairns,Queensland, Australia.
- Cycas media subs. ensata K.D.Hill: leaflets 7-10 mm wide, margins slightly recurved. Longest cataphylls more than 100 mm long. Distribution: N of Silver Plains homestead to Lockhart River, Queensland, Australia.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Keith Boyer “Palms and Cycads Beyond the Tropics: A Guide to Growing Cold-hardy Species” Publication Fund, Palm & Cycad Societies of Australia, 1992
2) Winston Rodger Elliot, David Lloyd Jones “Encyclopaedia of Australian plants suitable for cultivation”, Volume 3 Lothian Pub. Co., 1983
3) Ferdinand von Mueller, Roderick Weir Home “Regardfully Yours: Selected Correspondence of Ferdinand Von Mueller” Peter Lang, 01 January 2006
4) L. P. Butt in: Palms & Cycads No. 27, Apr-Jun 1990
5) PACSOA contributors "Cycas kennedyana". In: Cycads. Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia (PACSOA). 23 November 2013 Web. 02 October 2015.
Cycas kennedyana Photo by: Josef Cycad Perner
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Cycas kennedyana is a very hardy plant, not well known in cultivation but has similar requirements to those of Cycas media. It is sometime planted in gardens or rockeries. It is suited to tropical regions which have a seasonally dry climate. It is easy to grow, tolerating dry periods. All species of Cycas require good drainage for successful growth and bright light to full sun.
Growth rate: Usually slow growing, however good conditions can speed it up considerably. Because of its growth habit, fertilize only when terminal bud begins to swell, indicating the start of the annual growth cycle.
Exposure: It prefers bright light exposure but colour bleaches when in full sun; best with some protection from afternoon heat.
Soil: Needs a well drained spot, with deep soil, but will still thrive in less than ideal conditions.
Maintenance: Minimal; removal of offsets if desired, removal of spent fronds.
Use: Landscape as cultivated perennial in warm, coastal areas; House-plant or interior-scape, as container plant in cool areas, as well very well suited to bonsai culture.
Propagation: Seed. After fertile seeds are collected, they usually need several months of storage before the inner embryo is ready to germinate. Therefore, it is best to clean the seeds of external fruit and set them aside before attempting to propagate the seeds.
Warning: All plant parts are considered highly toxic.
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