on this page: 2000 inflorescence - 2001 inflorescence - 2002 observations

Zamioculcas zamiifolia
my plant

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I bought my plant in late 1999 (labelled as "Zamia"... !). It started growing a new leaf around February 2000. When it was nearly unfolded, a new shoot started developing, which was soon recognized as an inflorescence. It opened at the end of May.

The inflorescence had no distinguishable scent or odour.
The spadix is not topped by a naked appendix (osmophore; in contrast to many of the "smelly" species, such as Amorphophallus, Sauromatum, Arum, ...), but the upper part is covered with male flowers up to the top.

Attempts were made to polliniate the female flowers with pollen from the male flowers once they had opened. Some female flowers started to swell to about twice their original size afterwards, but in the end the inflorescence turned dry without producing any fruits.

Photographs were taken on the day the spathe opened and about 2 or 3 days later; again about 3 weeks later, when the pollen was released (alas, I did not keep a diary...).
The comparatively long interval (around 2-3 weeks) between opening the spathe and releasing the pollen (to avoid self-polliniation) seems to be noteworthy; also the observation that the unfertilized inflorescence is -by means of elongation of the stalk- bent down gradually towards the ground in the course of several weeks, ending up with the spadix in an approximately horizontal position below pot surface (but outside the pot).
This appears to indicate either that the flowers are meant to be fertilized by animals that live close to the ground surface, or that the seeds are to be brought close to the ground for better chances of germination.
Note: my plant is growing indoors on the sill of a western window (direct sunlight from ~3:00 p.m.) and is not exposed directly to outdoor climatic conditions, such as night/day temperature gradients, rain, dew or wind.
inflorescence with mature male flowers (63kB)  2000-2001 Norbert Anderwald
inflorescence with mature male flowers


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The 2001 inflorescence opened its spathe on August 15, 2001 (about 2 1/2 months later than the 2000 inflorescence). The bud had come unnoticed; apparently, it had developed within less than three weeks. I had already thought it wouldn't flower that year...

Photographs (see photo page): August 16; August 18. Pistils visible. The spathe seemed narrower (less spread) than the year before, but showed more female flowers, as it was split deeper at the base. Pistils of female flowers were visible (= fertile ?) for at least a week; apparently, they remain fertile until the spathe folds back and exposes the entire upper (male) part of the spadix.

Between August 22 and 27 (no observations), the male flowers released their pollen. The inflorescence stalk had stretched and bent downwards; this time away from the window (last year it had bent towards the light) and with the spadix pointing downwards (in 2000, it had remained +/- horizontally). The spathe was folded backwards, exposing the upper (male) part of the spadix that already showed signs of aging (tepals get brownish spots at first; later, they will dry up completely); the male part of the spadix has decreased while the lower (female) part has increased in volume. The female flowers that had shown the short pistils only a week before have "withdrawn" them (or they are immersed in the now swollen surrounding tissue of the lower part of the spadix ?).


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In March/April 2002, when the plant was unfolding a new leaf, guttation was observed from leaflet margins at two occasions in the early morning hours.
Guttation is the exudation of liquid water (as a result of osmotic root pressure) that is released by special cells (hydathodes). This enables the basipetal transport of dissolved nutrients under conditions of high (even of condensing) air humidity, when evaporation is low. Guttation is common in aroids, but rare in succulents.
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my Zamioculcas photos trade, availabilty
July 9, 2001
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August 1, 2002

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