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CERATOZAMIA kuesteriana

Image of Ceratozamia kuesteriana

James Burghardt

Family

Cycadaceae

Botanical Name

CERATOZAMIA kuesteriana

Plant Common Name

Kuster's Feather Cycad

General Description

Bearing large, glossy, palm-like leaves on arching, spine-free petioles, this low-growing cycad makes an elegant addition to tropical gardens and greenhouses. It is a rare endemic of cloud forests in a small area of the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

The long, feathery, rich-green leaves are spirally arranged atop a short, swollen, trunk-like stem. The numerous, narrow, blade-shaped leaflets are soft and pliant when new, becoming leathery and rigid with age. New leaves are bronze-copper and uncoil as they open, like fern fiddleheads. Cycads are dioecious, meaning each plant is either male or female. Male plants bear a single large corncob-shaped cone on a fuzzy brown stalk. Females produce a barrel-shaped cone with large scales and a pointed, spiny cap. The seeds are large and reddish-brown.

Kuster's feather cycad thrives in partial shade and moist, well-drained, acid to neutral soil. Too much sun bleaches the leaves. This relatively cold-hardy cycad overwinters outdoors to USDA zone 8, although it may suffer leaf damage in zone 8 and 9 winters. Use it as an accent in a subtropical garden, or as a striking container plant. This is among the most beautiful cycads for the garden.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 13

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Orange, Light Green, Dark Green, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No