Macrozamia riedlei

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Macrozamia riedlei
Macrozamia riedlei 1.jpg
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Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Cycadophyta
Class: Cycadopsida
Order: Cycadales
Family: Zamiaceae
Genus: Macrozamia
Species: M. riedlei
Binomial name
Macrozamia riedlei

Macrozamia riedlei, commonly known as a zamia or zamia palm, is a species of cycad in the family Zamiaceae native to Western Australia. It reaches anywhere from 0.5 to 3 m high.


Macrozamia riedlei grows as a cycad with a no or very short trunk of a maximum height of 30 cm and diameter of 25-40 cm. Between 12 and 30 glossy mid- to dark green leaves emerge from its crown, each up to 1.2 to 2.2 m long and bearing 92–150 pinnae.[2]

The genus is noted for the large size of the reproductive structure, and this species is remarkable in several aspects. The female cone measures 120–250 millimetres wide and 250–500 mm long, and the weight is recorded up to around 14 kilograms; the eggs and spermatazoids are visible to the naked eye.[3]


The first species description was published as Cycas riedlei by Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von Fischer.[4][5] An orthographic variant—Macrozamia reidlei— was used by the revising author, Charles Gardner.[6] The Noongar names for the plant are baian, djiriji, koondagoor and quinning.[7]


Found on lateritic soils and in Jarrah forests, it is endemic to Western Australia.[8] It is found from the southwestern coast east to Dwellingup and Albany.[2] The nuts from this plant have been successfully used as food by Indigenous Australians after proper processing, however, when eaten by European explorers they incurred poisoning:

Reported cases of poisoning from this cycad are perhaps the earliest for any local plant. Macrozamia riedlei is mentioned as causing sickness in men eating the seeds by Vlamingh in 1697, La Perouse in 1788, Flinders in 1801, and Sir George Grey in 1839.[9]

However, Evarist (1979)[10] notes that early settlers observed aboriginal practices and used the starch from the pith of the trunk (for food) "after drying, shredding, soaking in water for several hours, filtering, settling, washing several times, drying slowly and powdering." The informal names 'wobbles' and 'rickets' were used by the settlers, describing the toxic effect of the toxins on animals allowed to graze on them.[11][9] The toxins contained in the cone, macrozamin and cycasin, are produced in coralloid roots by nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria.[11] The ripe and unprepared seed of M. riedlei is known as pauyin.[3]

They attract moyadong, a parrot subspecies Platycercus icterotis icterotis, which eat the fleshy part of the seed.[12] Other animals known to eat the seeds are birds, the emu, common bronzewing pigeon (Phaps chalcoptera), white-tailed black cockatoo, silvereye, grey butcherbird, Australian raven, and mammal species, western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus), western brush wallaby (Macropus irma), quokka (Setonix brachyurus), common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and western quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii).[13]


  1. ^ Hill, K.D. 2003. Macrozamia riedlei. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 22 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Macrozamia riedlei". Flora of Australia Online. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Government.
  3. ^ a b Hopper, S.; Lambers, H. (2014), "9. Human relationships with and use of Kwongan plants and lands", in Lambers, Hans, Plant life on the sandplains in southwest Australia : a global biodiversity hotspot : kwongan matters, Crawley, Western Australia UWA Publishing, pp. 287–90, ISBN 978-1-74258-564-2
  4. ^ Published in:Gaudichaud-Beaupre, C. (1829), Voyage Autour du Monde ... sur les Corvettes de S.M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne. Botanique 11: 434
  5. ^ Gardner, C.A. "Macrozamia reidlei". Atlas of Living Australia. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Macrozamia reidlei, CHAH (2006), Australian Plant Census". Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Noongar names for plants". Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Macrozamia reidlei". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
  9. ^ a b Gardner, C.A. and Bennetts, H.W. (1956) The Toxic Plants of Western Australia (p.5.) Perth, West Australian Newspapers.
  10. ^ Evarist, S.L. (1979) Poisonous Plants of Australia (2nd ed) pp.243-245. Angus and Robertson Publishers.
  11. ^ a b Lambers, H. (2014), "4. Plant mineral nutrition", in Lambers, Hans, Plant life on the sandplains in southwest Australia: a global biodiversity hotspot: kwongan matters, Crawley, Western Australia UWA Publishing, p. 113, ISBN 978-1-74258-564-2
  12. ^ Johnstone, R.E.; Storr, G.M. (1998). Taylor, Deborah, ed. Handbook of Western Australian birds. v.1 — non passerines. Perth: Western Australian Museum. p. 300. ISBN 0730712087.
  13. ^ Burbridge, Allan H.; Whelan, Robert J. (1982). "Seed dispersal in a cycad, Macrozamia riedlei" (PDF). Australian Journal of Ecology. 7: 63–67.

External links

  • The Australasian Virtual Herbarium – Occurrence data for Macrozamia riedlei
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