Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cycad, Cardboard Palm
Zamia furfuracea

Family: Zamiaceae
Genus: Zamia (ZAM-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: furfuracea (fur-fur-AH-see-uh) (Info)

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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21 positives
11 neutrals
8 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive LaWolf8 On Oct 18, 2014, LaWolf8 from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I had one in a pot 20 years ago, it always amazed people and I always had fun with the name and the looks on people's faces. I left it with my roommates and it eventually died. I'm going to plant one soon out in Palm Springs new place, a HUGE Sago is there already with afternoon shade.

People need to research toxic plants there are many. The obvious thing is to cut off the seed structures, by not letting it go to seed it will be more robust. This is like dead heading your flower seeds for more growth. The male form is no problem but even I will wash my hands after pruning or handling it, same with the Sago.

Wikipedia: toxic/poisonous plants and be amazed.

Positive Bronto On Jul 20, 2013, Bronto from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:

Thrives in moderate large container on a concrete porch with no direct sunlight any time of year in the low desert of Arizona. Winter of 2012-2013 winter freeze killed all the fronds but not the plant/roots when it was left unprotected over 5 nights of hard freeze in mid-20's F. After trimming dead fronds back to trunk, loads of fronds re-emerged a few month later.

Positive nana_ann On Jun 10, 2013, nana_ann from Chandler, AZ wrote:

I've had this plant in Zone 9, Phoenix, AZ area from 2004-2013 so far. It's in a container in the shade outside. So far it's continued to survive both heat & freezes. I thought for sure I'd lost it after this winter's brutal freezes (for Arizona, hehe), but 3 months later and some good 90 degree heat & it's back. If you can get it to live, I think the heat here keeps the plant to a more moderate size, because if it hadn't been for the occasional dieback, it was starting to overgrow the location it was placed in.

Neutral maryjoan54 On May 7, 2012, maryjoan54 from Overland Park, KS wrote:

Has anyone divided the Zamia fufuracea by splicing into the crown. Mine has 3 shoots on it and I would like to take one of them off and start a new one. Any suggestions?

Negative mabelsmom1 On Apr 23, 2012, mabelsmom1 from Cooper City, FL wrote:

Important information regarding the toxicity of the cardboard palm.

When my dog Mabel (a 3 year old Lab mix) ate cardboard palm seeds a few months ago I was desperate to find a way to save her. My vet had never encountered this type of poisoning before and we didn't know she had eaten a deadly plant almost 10 days prior!

The plants had been in my front yard for decades and the dogs had always eaten palm seeds and were fine. Until now.

Mabel went into severe liver failure and my vet was baffled by the little amount of information and research surrounding this type of poisoning.

She was dying and after reading this page (one of the few that had information from other pet owners) I was horrified to learn she could die a slow and painful death. Mabel was given a 25% chance to live and considering she probably ate about 5 pounds of seeds and didn't receive treatment for almost 10 days I didn't think we had a chance.

Mabel lingered on an IV along with being given other "traditional" medications for a few days until my vet talked to another local vet who had tried a human cholesterol drug, Cholestryramine and saved some dogs. She said there were no trials or medical evidence but that we could give it a shot.

My vet started Mabel immediately on the drug and almost 3 months later she is doing extremely well. In fact some of her liver values are normal and it looks like she will survive.

Two weeks after Mabel came in, my vet Dr. Monica Fernandez from Lakeside Animal Hospital (Plantation, FL) was confronted with another dog, a small Jack Russell. The dog was started immediately on the drug and is doing even better than Mabel.

Our local news covered the story because the majority of these dogs die from this type of poisoning, however this new drug may be the answer. Although Mabel is doing well, I continue to give her twice daily IVs and a slew of medications. She will need a liver drug for the remainder of her life as well.

If you are going through what I've endured please contact Lakeside Animal Hospital for more information. I know my vet plans to publish something about the drug but if time is of the essence it would be worth a try.

Positive maryrgv On Mar 15, 2011, maryrgv from Port Isabel, TX wrote:

We use the palms for landscaping. And they are putting out seeds now. I want to know how to start new ones. I have many seeds now. But the freeze here did hurt them. someone told me to cut them to the what they called the pineapple and they will come back. I need some help.

Positive dez42 On Dec 27, 2010, dez42 from Naples, FL wrote:

I am in zone 10 (turning to 11 lately!) and the leatherleaf or cardboard'palm' grows fast and huge here. It is a very sculptural understory plant, and if one has the space looks wonderful when several grow together! It can stand drought conditions for a while, but will eventually stunt or die (can soak every 10 days or so for a handsome plant).
As far as toxicity dangers, I haven't had any problems with a large property and many domestic birds, cats, dogs and other critters wild or tame.I am so sorry for those who have had pets poisoned! BUT any avid gardener with a large collection of plants has toxicity issues whether they are aware of it or not. Please if at all possible and as soon as possible teach your pets and children not to sample plants (or other substances found in the garden or elsewhere) they are not given to eat by you! Just say NO! Loudly! Emphatically!
I also get concerned about NDD (started as a joke but now being considered seriously!) Nature Deficit Disorder--people becoming over afraid and underexposed to Nature and their local natural environment. We need to teach the old fashioned rules and common sense about it that we are losing.
And remember that the most dangerous things out there to your animals and children are CARS!

Neutral rockmanwss On Nov 23, 2010, rockmanwss from Wilmington, DE wrote:

I live in Wilmington, DE Zone 6-7 borderline. I have this cycad planted on the south side of the house with my King Sago palm. My sago has been planted for 12 years now and is about 6 feet high. Every year at Thanksgiving I wrap the trunk with a 100 lite strand of twinkle lights and throw another strand in the center, fold up the leaves and wrap it with plastic. I plan to do the same this year with the Cardboard palm and see if I'm successful getting it through the winter.

Positive trynfindit On Sep 25, 2008, trynfindit from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

There have been several comments about the hugely toxic effects of this plant and the Sago Palm. Great care has to be taken to prevent children and pets from having access to them.

We have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi who will eat anything that doesn't get away from him. One night our Corgi, who was about 2 y/o at the time, went into another room apparently to be by himself, which is very unlike him and, when we found him he was just laying on his side, staring at nothing. He couldn't even hold his head up. He'd thrown up a few feet away from where he was laying. We immediately scooped him up and got him to the emergency vet who pumped his stomach and did any number of other things. He told us not to feed our dog at all (as anything our dog ate would further upset his stomach and he'd throw it up anyway) until his stomach could settle down, about 24 hours. Seems ike the vet also gave us some medication for him; it's been a few years so hard to remember. I do remember we could only feed him a very bland diet of cottage cheese and rice for something like 4 or 5 days, and only a little water so he didn't bloat. We apparently got to our dog in time because he's 5 years old now and has never shown any adverse effects from the seeds.

The morning after we took our dog to the emerg. vet I looked out front where the dog had been laying and there on the ground was a large new harvest of Sago Palm seeds, laying on the ground. There were also several piles of throw-up. That's when I got on the computer and did some research on Sago Palms. We immediately raked up all of the seeds and, to this day, we keep them raked up. Fortunately our Sago Palm is in the front yard where our Corgi, now, is never allowed to go (our back yard is completely fenced so he goes out there).

Gardeners, it's worth doing a little quick internet research to find out what plants in your yard (or the yards of your friends and family should they have pets or children) are toxic. If they have any such plants, warn them!

Positive mbsimmons On May 6, 2008, mbsimmons from San Benito, TX wrote:

I have one cardboard palm - 8 years old. It is very hardy in my 9b zone. It fared well after a Christmas snow in 2004 and having to be moved mid-summer (temps in the upper 90s). I has only produced seeds once. Did not know the toxicity of its seeds. I still love this plant - but will be removing the seed cone the day it breaks open.

Negative Lindakj On Feb 28, 2008, Lindakj from Nokomis, FL wrote:

My puppy recently ate the red berries from this plant. More should be published about the toxicity of this plant. It is two weeks tomorrow and she is still at the emergency vet. Please do not have this plant around if you have pets or children.

Negative metadatician On Feb 17, 2008, metadatician from Seattle, WA wrote:

I've had this as a houseplant for 4 months now (in Seattle, WA) and am having trouble keeping it going. I moved it to a SE window where it gets more sunlight, but it's still dropping leaves. An attractive plant, but I'm not finding it as easy to care for as others have.

Negative chellamaral On Feb 6, 2008, chellamaral from Vero Beach, FL wrote:

I am a horticulture professional, but realitively new to Florida gardening. I recently installed a 100% native landscape planting on 1/4 acre. Zamia Furfuracea is a focal point in my back yard.

It is the first season that these huge plants flowered. I was aware the flowers (seed cones) were present. I knew that my Josie, 2 year old Lab, would probably sample the seeds and had actually had a discussion about this with a fellow horticulture professional with almost 30 years local experience. I, too, cautiously sampled a seed to check for sweetness as Josie commonly eats Sabal palmetto seeds that fall from these palms.

Later that day I found Josie nosing around the seeds that had started falling from one plant and was aware she had sampled. I removed 8 large cones and didn't think much more of it.

Within 3 hours, Josie started vomiting and discovered she had consumed at least 2-3 cups of seeds. A bowel movement later showed 21 seeds in her stool.

She vomited over 20 times in a 4-5 hour period, seeming to purge most of the seeds within the first 1-2 hours. She seemed fine after the initial purging of the seeds, but when she couldn't keep down her dinner, pepto, or any liquids, we grew more concerned. At the 5th hour (10pm on a Sat), Josie started tremoring. I panicked and got on-line to do a quick search...MUCH TO MY HORROR I FOUND OUT ABOUT THE TOXICITY OF THIS PLANT FOR THE FIRST TIME.

We were able to rush Josie to Animal Emergency where we were given the devastating prognosis. We put her on acute care which was very similar to the treatment of Dr. Susan Ward below and has been the most comprehensive information I have found on Cycad Toxicity.

Josie was also treated in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, our hospital being rare in offering this treatment to animals.

By some miracle of god, Josie's 12, 24, and 36 hour toxicology tests have all been normal! We are being cautiously optimisic as we know the longer term prognosis is not good. We have not heard of one positive outcome.

We are continuing toxicology tests every 3 days and praying that Josie will somehow beat the odds. Thank you to Animal Emergency Care in Fort Pierce, FL and Dr. David Kilpatric of Southside Veterinary of Vero Beach. Sorry for such a long post but PLEASE spread the word of the dangers of cycad poisoning and contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center and report any cases similar so that the database can be more complete. I cannot even start to say how devastated we are and hope this post might save your family member.

Neutral Cretaceous On Jun 20, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Zamia furfuracea is native to Veracruz, Mexico.

It grows under or near shrub cover on sand dunes, where average annual rainfall is 79 inches.

Zamiaceae are listed on CITES Appendix II.

Positive VeroDave On Jun 17, 2007, VeroDave from Vero Beach, FL wrote:

I have grown about a dozen of these from seeds I harvested about 10 years ago. Stared them in my herb garden, for 2-3 years, and then into a variety of pots until placing them in the ground. They are huge now and stuning, marking the north-east edge of my property. The only bad experiece I had was with one plant that was very healty looking the first year it produced the seed pod. I let it rippen on the plant, but this seemed to place too much stress on the plant (this was the first season after planting it in the ground). So I transplanted it back to a pot, and replaced it in the ground (same hole)with the largest specimen I still had in a pot. The sick plant lost all but one leaf, but the following spring it came back. The next year it went back in the ground an today it looks fine. Then they got pretty beat up in the 2004-2005 huricane seasons, but they came back. So last year I cut all the seeds pods off once they were nearly fully formed, but not yet close to rippening. This year they literally exploded with new growth and pratically doubled in size. So perhaps this method of removing the seed pod is not only good for the plant, but when disposed of wrapped in the trash, might save a few pets.
Right now today, all of them are beginning to produce seed pods.
If you start some from seeds, don't be alarmed if at the begining of year two, the one primary leaf turns brown and dies, a new sprout is right behind it. It takes a few years for more than one leaf to appear and the plant to take on a symetrical shape. Young plants do not like intense direct sunlight. In the wild, they would germinate and develop under the leaves (i.e., in the shade) of their parent. I currently also have about ten "two year olds" in pots.

Negative myakka1210 On Mar 6, 2007, myakka1210 from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

This is a very interesting and easy to grow Cycad in a warm environment, however please note:


I am in the process of loosing my male Pug due to liver failure after 20 days because of the high toxicity of the seeds. He ate approx 40 seeds, and vomited them up about 1 hour later. Unfortunately, I did not see the seed pod, as it was hidden in the dense overgrowth of the plant. I usually remove the pods before they open. Now I will be removing the plants altogether.

There is very little information online, even available to Vets on Cycad poisoning. If you love your pet, DO NOT plant this is an area that the pet can get to the seeds. The seeds are actually quite tasty (yes - I tried a taste - don't worry, I spit it out). Your pet will most likely die a slow death as a result of this treat.

If you are involved in Veterinary care, you may contact the Vet who treated my dog for treatment information:

Extra Care Animal Hospital, Davie FL 954-370-0203

Neutral MungieCat On Mar 4, 2007, MungieCat from Siloam Springs, AR wrote:

I received a cardboard palm for my birthday in January---a small houseplant version. (I do not have a green thumb) Unfortunately, we had a bad ice storm that knocked out our electricity for 6 days. We left our home, and our plant to freeze. I completely forgot about it with all the stress of trees falling on our house---etc. It got to the low 20's in our house. My palm did lose all its leaves. I have lifted it out of the pot to look at roots, but I can't tell anything. I will replant it and watch it for awhile. If it survives, then I know it is more hardy than I've been reading!

Positive BayAreaTropics On Mar 4, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

It was a pleasant surprise to learn this Zamia i had purchased at a supermarket last spring not only survived the freeze in a small pot-but continued to unfurl fronds from the falls growth spurt. It has stayed evergreen through almost a week of 30-32 nights in January 07. I should add more to the yard.
Just the usual cycad care-don't overdo anything, and it's fine.

Edit end of summer 2007: Amazing-it is now on its third flush since i bought it in little more than a year's time. All on an outdoor plant. Never have i had any species of cycad flush that often in our relative cool climate Oh,and you bay area neophyte cycad hobbyists,the growth of in ground tropical cycads far exceeds what you would get in a pot. Surprising so is the margin.

Neutral hdiodati On Mar 4, 2007, hdiodati from Montreal
Canada wrote:

A friend of mine read the toxicity data on this plant that I just purchased last week and he says that it probably gives off toxic fumes.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Aug 9, 2006, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I am stretching the limits here in borderline Zone 8b/9a by growing the Cardboard Palm. I got it through last winter with temperatures down as low as about 28 F by covering it with several inches of hay and throwing a sheet or blanket over it on the coldest nights. There was somefreeze leaf burn on the outer edges where the mulch covering was thinnest, causing these outer edges to turn a light brown color, but the plant has sent up fantastic new growth this year and is looking great! It has been a nice addition to my botanical collection. The related species, Coonties (Zamia floridana), are native to my area, are completely cold hardy in this Zone, and grow without any special care.


Positive tmccullo On Aug 5, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Just planted ours. We have seen them in South Texas and South Miami and loved them. We have alkaline soil so it should do pretty well. I am sure we will have to cover it on cold nights.

Positive basilio On Jun 27, 2006, basilio from Athens
Greece (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is really bulletproof in my zone, coastal 9b, where it survives winter's cold and very strong salty winds with absolutely no problem. I have it potted at my balcony, therefore protected from heavy rains, and that's about it as far as protection is concerned. It's a hardy plant with no special requirements, although I suspect it would be a faster grower in warmer or tropical zones (it's only producing about 4-5 leaves a year, all at once, where I live). Apart from this relative disadvantage (common to all cycads), it's one of the easiest plants in my collection.

Neutral zsnp On Feb 16, 2006, zsnp from Pensacola, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

We experienced that temperatures below 32F damage the old leaves. The leaves turn brown and then fall off. It takes the plant very long time to grow new leaves. So, we usually cover the entire plant when the weather gets too cold.

Neutral CastIronPlant22 On Dec 11, 2005, CastIronPlant22 from Lompoc, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have had this as a potted house plant for a long time now--about 5 years. It is really slow, and no fertilizer out there seems to help it. Sometimes, some leaves fall off the stem part, and it makes the whole leaf look bad. Sometimes, one or two leaves will turn light brown and fall off, while the others are still green. It's a Mickey Mouse kind of plant to me. I love it, though I just can't seem to get rid of it. They are very expensive here in CA, so I think I will hold onto mine. It's too cold for it here outside.

Neutral vossner On Aug 30, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Did not know about toxicity of plant until I started reading the PF. Planted inground in full sun for about 5-6 years, it has been extremely slow growing for me. In the wintertime leaves get ugly and they fall off but in spring new shoots come up. I'm rating it neutral for toxicity and for being so slow to grow. It is fun to touch the leaves, they do feel like cardboard.

March 2014: has now been in my garden for 14 yrs, still low maint and still slow growing. Have never seen seeds on it.

Positive Fbeth On Jun 18, 2005, Fbeth from Pearland, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I got my first cardboard palm from a gardening center on sale. It was in a gallon size container. The only ones I'd ever seen before were two HUGE ones in Galveston, Texas at The Pyramids. I planted mine and kept it in my New Orleans style courtyard in the heart of Houston, watering it nearly every day during the very hot summertime, and not much during the fall through winter.

Being very protected in the courtyard, and the winters being very mild in Houston, the plant thrived. Within 5 years it was measuring 8' in diameter!! (Folks...that's across the plant!) Every spring it gave me 12 new long stems of leaflets.

Then in the 6th year I had to move in July--A HOT time of the year to move & plants don't like to move anyway. This home is just 12 miles from where I was living....a little closer toward the Gulf but no courtyard, not much shade, and this cardboard plant enjoyed filtered sunlight. The pot broke in the move. I repotted in a larger pot (which it needed anyway) with yummy soil and gave it a prize location. For 10 months it just sat and promised to die.

Much of it browned and dropped stems, it is half as thick as it used to be and refused to perk up until this month...June. Two weeks ago it decided to live and has a beautiful ball of baby stems forming in the center! I'm excited and waiting to watch it begin to grow and thrive again. It just needed time to adapt to it's new location and heal from the trauma of moving and being repotted at the same time.

I'm happy to say cardboard palms do well here (a neighbor down the street has a beautiful one too). There isn't a lot of difference in the climate from here in Houston/Pearland to Baton Rouge, La. (just the other side of the swamp!), and I see that there is a picture on this website from Baton Rouge of a gorgeous cardboard palm proof they grow really well there.

Also, I marked positive for the plant because I love the challenge, and now the anticipation, of new growth. I don't get this from just any plant. My advise is this palm will live in nearly full shade or partial and it does love water, but definitely not sitting in it. Please feed it once a year with a palm food and it will love you by giving you beautiful, dark green foliage that is huge.

Positive greyyhawkk On May 8, 2005, greyyhawkk from Seattle, WA wrote:

I'm thinking that, if the seed is highly toxic... well so is chocolate or antifreeze which dogs love. These are things we usually keep out of reach. We don't get rid of them as being not worth the risk. I have a pet. His name is Thomas the Cat and I love him very much. His friend is Harry the Cat. When my cardboard palm starts to shoot a cone up, I will put the plant out of reach.

Positive ladyannne On May 2, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Unusual, delightful house plant. The new growth is fascinating. This plant does not like wet feet.

Positive RoyRogers On Aug 21, 2004, RoyRogers from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Very nice plant. I didn't know about the toxicity issue.

I think the Florida Coontie is the one that needs a male and female plant to produce seed and not the "Cardboard" ' palms. At least that's my experience with both of the 2 plants.

Roy Rogers
Tampa, Fl

Neutral foodiesleuth On May 30, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I surprises me to see see the warnings about not overwatering or to water sparingly. We live in one of the wettest regions in the world and the plants do very well here! I certainly have never babied it. We planted from a small plant in a 6 inch pot and it now takes over a whole corner of the back yard!

Neutral Lobivopsis On May 29, 2004, Lobivopsis wrote:

Cycads do not produce true fruits as they are gymnosperms like conifers and ginkos (they are non floweing plants).

Positive Robertt On Apr 4, 2004, Robertt from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've had just one plant for many years and it always puts out seeds every year. No other plant in sight... interesting.

Negative jeh4050 On Mar 22, 2004, jeh4050 wrote:

We have had much success growing this plant and propagating from seed in the East Central Florida area. They required no special care and thrived in the yard. However, we have recently found this plant's seeds to be extremely toxic to our dog. We hope that he lives through the experience. There is no antidote for the toxin contained in this plant and the prognosis for an animal having ingested the seeds is not good.

PLEASE!! carefully consider whether or not this plant is worth the risk before adding it to your landscape especially if you have animals or small children. We dug all of ours up as well as our koontie palms as they are also poisonous and produce a similar seed pod. For us, no plant is worth this risk. Thank God it wasn't a child.

Negative dallasguy On Dec 29, 2003, dallasguy wrote:

I bought a Cardboard Palm and placed it in a west window in the winter. The leaves started turning yellow then brown and are falling off. I water sparingly, and my home is about 70F to 75F during the day, and in the 60F degree-range at night.

Positive sleepybenja On Sep 22, 2003, sleepybenja from North Port, FL wrote:

I have 4 cardboard palms growing inland Florida. Every winter they must be covered and sometimes even that isn't enough, and they lose all their leaves; so far they have always come back. I have lots of little ones sprouting out, but they are easy to pull out - it is very attractive plant to me.

Positive KWDave On Aug 15, 2003, KWDave from Key West, FL (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant grows very well in what I refer to as Dante's Inferno, a sun-drenched rooftop deck with merciless sun in downtown Key West. It is watered every other day, and seems to really like being fed at two-week intervals. This one is dear to my heart, because when I started caring for it, it had two dried out fronds and lived in a cracked plastic pot. Transplanting to a large terra cotta pot with good medium has resulted in about 24 fronds, two seed pods, and astounding growth inside of three months.

Positive texasplantlady On Jul 20, 2003, texasplantlady from Dickinson, TX wrote:

Very easy to grow from seed!

Positive palmbob On Jul 5, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the most commonly grown cycads in all of California and Florida (and probably many other states near Florida). It is a very attractive and non-fastidious plant that has unique physical characteristics. As with ALL cycads, there are male and female plants. You need at least one of each to get fertile seed, as well as the pollinator. If you don't live in Florida where there are at least some natural cycad pollinators, you will probably have to be the pollinator--that is, if you want to try to get viable seed out of your plants).

I am a veterinarian and am familiar with the toxicity of this and other cycads, though the incidence of cycad poisoning is still somewhat rare here in California where most of these plants do not form seeds well (particularly Zamias)... Sago palms are a bit more of an issue here, and with growing popularity, poisonings are becoming more and more frequent. There are thousands of poisonous plants out here, so if you have a pet that is a indiscriminate plant eater, this is NOT a good plant for your yard. Remember, also, this plant is equally toxic to humans (so much is written about its toxicity to pets, but children can just as easily gobble up the berries... or even a curious adult). Do NOT eat this plant (or any cycads for that matter)!

Seeds, though not usually viable unless there are pollinators around, will still form sometimes, and the toxic parts will develop. The seeds are very toxic and some dogs will definitely eat them, so you have to watch for that. Never heard of cat eating a cycad seed (most are too finicky). Once eaten they can produce some severe toxic effects, initially vomiting, liver failure and possibly permanent neurological problems and even death. In Florida or other more tropical climates it does seem to be a much more common and serious problem... possibly the number one most dangerous plant to a pet dog that one can easily acquire and grow. As always, know your plant's potential hazards to you, your children and your pets.

It is an otherwise wonderful plant. It does have a cold tolerance that is not ideal for most of the US.. in fact, it burns even here in So Cal when the temps get below 28F. Killing it, however, takes temps in the low 20s. I have included some more photos of this plant for your enjoyment.

Negative DanaRae On Mar 25, 2003, DanaRae wrote:

All parts of the cardboard palm are poisonous to animals and humans. The toxicity causes liver and kidney failure, eventual paralysis. Dehydration sets in very quickly. There is no antidote. There are fatality reports filed with Poison Control on dogs and livestock.

There was a small Cardboard Palm in the screened pool room of the home we bought in Florida. We had no idea what it was. When the female pod opens, it reveals bright yellow seeds that gradually turn red, resembling jelly beans.

Our two dogs, who'd never shown a previous interest in vegetation, were attracted to the berries, which we only realized when they began throwing them up. Despite all attempts by our veterinarian, we lost one dog in two days, the other in two weeks. Unfortunately, this aspect of the plant is rarely included in available information.

Neutral bleu On Aug 4, 2002, bleu wrote:

When the fruit ripens, the birds are very fond of the pretty red seeds. The result is little tiny cardboard palms all over the place. They pull out easily and grow to a reasonable size in two years. On the bright side, cardboard palm is a great accent, specimen or container plant for the patio or deck.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Brea, California
Brentwood, California
Carlsbad, California
Castro Valley, California
Clayton, California
Encino, California
Fairfield, California
Hayward, California
Huntington Beach, California
Lompoc, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
Spring Valley, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Dunedin, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Ellenton, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (4 reports)
Jupiter, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
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