Cycad, Coontie, Florida Arrowroot, Seminole Bread

Zamia integrifolia

Family: Zamiaceae
Genus: Zamia (ZAM-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: integrifolia (in-teg-ree-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Zamia floridana
Synonym:Zamia media
Synonym:Zamia umbrosa
Synonym:Zamia silvicola
Synonym:Zamia lucayana



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

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:

Sun to Partial 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:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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


Scottsdale, Arizona

Huntington Beach, California

Reseda, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Tulare, California

Atlantic Beach, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Clermont, Florida

Crystal River, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Deltona, Florida

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (4 reports)

Fort Pierce, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake Butler, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Miami, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Old Town, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Osprey, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Safety Harbor, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Summerfield, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Moultrie, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Cayce, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Houston, Texas

La Porte, Texas

Spring, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 14, 2017, lightyellow from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL wrote:

Great, smaller, non-sharp, and native alternative to Sago 'Palm' (Japanese species) where I live. It's a threatened species in Florida that's finally starting to get the attention it deserves in landscaping. Also is a host plant to a rare butterfly species in Southern FL.

Tolerates full sun to dappled shade (maybe full shade too) and leaves vary based on where they are planted (shade ones lie flat to get more light, sun ones are tucked and angled up more).

Plants have been very care-free and easy, I don't think we ever watered them when we kept them in pots for months while preparing their site. Very good alternative to using ferns in less moist landscapes.

One possible issue is this: a white Powdery mildew-looking disease can be a problem I'v... read more


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

Stays small but regularly grows new fronds which stay deep green even in the occasional 115+ degrees heat on the low deserts of Arizona. That is in a position with full summer sun only until noon and with daily irrigation. Seems less bothered by high temperatures than cycas revoluta which yellows easily in full sun and scorching heat. Also survived 5 days of 5-6 degrees of frost with only cotton cloth over it.


On Apr 19, 2012, TRUNK from North Andrews Gardens, FL wrote:

Unstoppable power of design in South Florida. Use it as a focal point, as a ground cover in mass, as hedge, as a potted patio plant...

I used this plant to soften a concrete planter. It has grown to be so beautiful. The fact that the plant is round is perfect because it needs no trimming, just weeding out from time to time. It has no negative attributes for my designs. I have used this plant in place of a water fountain in a japanese xeriscape. it flows with the wind and again with the perfect round circular shape it brings calm to the garden.


On Apr 25, 2011, LORI_florida from Valrico, FL wrote:

I live outside of Tampa, FL. Got a small "coontie" from a friend 'bout 10 years ago & potted it. Totally forgot about it; it was in a trash spot on the South side of my home. It got so big it broke through the 3 gallon black plastic nursery pot. It is considered a natural habitat/xeriscape "Florida Friendly" plants in my area. Never watered, fertilized or covered it. Plant is lush, about 5 feet wide, 3 feet tall. Survived droughts, hurricanes (2004 with 4 major hurricanes in Tampa) and "worst/longest freezes ever" 2010/2011 (only a bit of browning to the leaves). In my yard, if it survives drought, freeze, neglect, natural rainfall, looks good all year round, doesn't need pruning & ain't fussy, it stays. Therefore I rated it "positive." It is used extensively in roadside/median ... read more


On Nov 16, 2010, concretephil from Osprey, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have this plant in full shade, in soil that is high in organic matter. It has done very well for me. I think it may do better if it had some more sun hours, but I like it where it is.
In our area, West Coast of FL, and possibly other areas of Fl, the King Sago is attacked by a scale that kills the plant pretty fast. Some how, word got around that coffie grounds work to kill the scale. Since I only have native palms, I have no idea how they are applied, to the soil, fronds or dancing around the palm, chanting and throwing the grounds into the air. To the responder that used a systemic, let it be known that he/she is a brother or sister to Chemical Ali. What a stupid thing to do.
My favorite tool for getting rid of scale, fungus and other creepy crawley sucking bugs is a... read more


On Oct 17, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This cycad is fully cold hardy in my zone 8a yard.


On Dec 23, 2007, mmblum from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

My neighbor just gave me several of the red/orange seeds today from her coontie. Do I need to do anything to the seeds before sticking them in the dirt/sand? Any helpful hints would be appreciated. Thanks!


On Jul 13, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Zamia integrifolia is native to Florida, and southeastern Georgia, USA.

It grows in dry woodland, usually in sandy soil.

Zamiaceae are listed on CITES Appendix II.


On Jul 1, 2007, gator357 from Trenton, FL wrote:

Have 5 acres in Fanning Springs,Fl. Have coontie plants growing all over the place wild. Love them.


On Mar 8, 2007, FloridaG8or from Lake Butler, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted Coontie into my native garden last year, $20 a piece. At the time they were a little iffy. Though I have known of this plant for some time, it was the first time that I have had it in one of my gardens. It has done great, barely if ever needs to be watered, and gets thick pretty fast. I have noticed though that in the winter, at least with my plants, that it seems to slow in growth. Nevertheless it is the only green in my garden right now.
I got 37 seeds from a few plants growing on campus and I hope to get them started. I am aware of their "dangers," but I think I will live. I've just heard from a few local nurserymen that they are easy to gernminate, so hopefully I can get a few more for free.


On Sep 21, 2006, cycadjungle from Gibsonia, FL wrote:

Zamia floridana is an excellent plant to grow here in central Florida. As long as you give it good drainage, it can tolerate a variety of growing conditions without any special care. I have collected small amounts of seeds from several native stands and am growing these seperately unique types and producing seeds on them, while still keeping their genetics pure. Coontie can be grown without any effort, but sometimes can get scales or mealy bugs. If you have scale real bad, you can cut the old leaves off and they will produce new leaves quickly that will not be infested. Mealy bugs are not common, but the closer you plant them in groups, and the less air space they get, the more of a chance you will get mealy bugs. Fortunately, they are easy to kill. From the very small Fanning Springs and ... read more


On Sep 6, 2006, debeller from Gainesville, FL wrote:

Let it be known, this plant is often lethal if the seeds are ingested by dogs.


On Aug 1, 2005, Stuber from Fernandina Beach, FL wrote:

This is a great plant for the natural garden here in N. Fl. as it is native to many parts of the state, and though toxic, was even eaten by the Seminole indians as a kind of bread flour after leaching out the poisons. Slow to grow at first, don't give up on it if you plant small specimens. It "sleeps, creeps, and then leaps" during the first 3 or so growing seasons. I have observed 5 ft tall, 6 ft. in diameter mounds of this plant in old neighborhoods and city parks. The only advise I would differ with from above is the drastic move to cut back the plant in severe cases of scale. While scale can occasionally be a problem, I've treated some pretty bad outbreaks with a couple of doses of horticultural oil and that really did the trick. Even the black, sooty mold that so frequently accom... read more


On Mar 14, 2005, ematting from Lynn Haven, FL wrote:

I had grown Coontie (Zamia floridana) very successfully in Hernando County both from seed and by separating. On moving to Bay County (Forida Pan Handle) I brought several male plants for transplanting. These have thrived even during major freezes during the past two winters. Bay County is of course directly on the Gulf of Mexico. When frozen back, the plants all sprouted new growth in early summer. A recent 'native plant sale' in a city close to the Georgia line had native coontie for sale -- a nursery man, however, told me the coontie does not thrive in the upper or northern Pan Handle where the freezing weather is much worse than we have near the Gulf. I now regret that I did not bring a female plant with me to see how that would work - I am interested in acquiring a female plant i... read more


On Sep 5, 2004, Stuber from Fernandina Beach, FL wrote:

A slow grower in North Florida, but large plantings in older neighborhoods around here are quite impressive. One word of caution, as previously noted, this plant is highly likely to get scale and accompanying sooty mold, so occassional horticultural oil sprayings are required. Container grown specimens from the nursery are not cheap, even smaller one gallon plants, and I have experienced a 30% loss rate in the first year of transplanting into the landscape. But given all that, for my money there is still no better plant to give your yard or garden that ancient, "natural Florida' look; it should be grown more frequently, particularly by those willing to give it just a little extra care.


On Feb 2, 2004, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Down here in Florida we call this plant "Coontie," and as our water situation becomes more dire, this plant is becoming more heavily used in xeriscaping. It is one of the vestiges of the more primitive forms of plants that once covered the earth millions of years ago, and it is often called a "living fossil." It is extremely variable, and has many synonyms besides Z. integrifolia, including Z. angustifolia, Z. floridana, Z. pumila, Z. silvicola and Z. umbrosa.

It grows from 1 to 4 feet tall, and as wide, or even wider. It is highly adaptable--dry or moist, sun or shade-but continuously wet soil will kill it. It is also highly susceptible to scale, which is best dealt with by completely cutting off the foilage and letting scale free foilage grow back. Otherwise it is main... read more


On Oct 16, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is an extremely common cycad, as far as cycads go, and is not one of the more beautiful cycads.. but it still has a lot of worthiness as a low, durable landscape plant in warmer zones. It is a native of Florida and a few other southern states, as well as Central America. The plant produces lime green leathery leaves and nice looking cones (this is not a flowering plant- more closely related to a conifer). It is a very variable plant with wide to narrow leaflets, some long, some short. It is one of the easiest cycads to germinate, though most are pretty easy. It also one of the fasted to mature, going from seed to coning plant sometimes in as little as 5 years.

Notes have been made about its toxicity.. It is toxic, but more importantly, it has highly toxic fruits and... read more


On Oct 5, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I have grown coontie from seed, and I have grown a potted one. I suspect the potted one got fertilizer at the nursery, as it got large very quickly, but it may just have been at the grow fast stage for these ancient plants.

I did not take any particular care with skin contact while removing the waxy orange seed coating, but used a lot of water and washed my hands very well when I was done. It's not the easiest thing I've ever done, so I only did it once, about ten years ago. No ill effects so far.

I moved three seedlings (each about 18" across) to my new garden a year and a half ago, or a bit longer. They are doing well. These plants are quite tolerant, which is probably why they have survived even humans, grin.


On Jan 9, 2003, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a generally carefree plant. It is somewhat susceptible to scale infestations, which are usually followed or accompanied by a covering of sooty mold. The plants make a nice presentation in the landscape when planted in numbers. There are separate male and female plants, which are distinguished by the size and shape of the cones on the plant. Male cones are tall and thin, while female cones are short and squat. Female cones produce bright orange-red seeds. The seeds germinate easily. They will germinate more quickly if the seed coating is removed or scarified. It is believed that the seed is carcinogenic and should be handled only with gloves. Carefully discard the seed coatings if you remove them--they can be toxic. The root of this plant was ground for flour by the indian... read more


On Sep 22, 2002, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

A Florida native cycad that thrives on neglect once it's established; needs regular watering until then. Seeds are borne on cones.