Plant Common Name
Count Peroffsky's Cycad, Scaly Zamia
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
One of the tallest growing cycads, attaining a stature that looks like a palm tree, Lepidozamia peroffskyana has arching, rich dark green, glossy leaves that look like palm fronds. An evergreen cycad, which is an ancient cone-bearing plant, it's native to the humid, moist to wet rainforests of central eastern Australia. It usually grows with one main trunk-like stem but occasionally will branch.
The long leaves of this cycad emerge in spring or summer's warmth with a bronzy color and are soft to the touch. They unfurl and become more green, becoming dark green as they harden. The leaf is long and arches gracefully, lined with narrow, waxy, and sharp-pointed leaflets. Plants are dioecious, being either male or female, producing cones in summertime. The male cones are long cylinders while the female cone is oval and twice as large as those of the male. The fruits that form in the female cone are fleshy and either red or golden in color. When leaves do dry and die, they persist on the trunk-like stem.
Grow Count Peroffsky's cycad in nearly full sun to light shade in a moist, well-draining soil that is not overly alkaline. Tolerant of high heat and oppressive humidity, it can handle occasional wet soil unlike many other cycads. It handles light frosts, too (unlike the closely related Lepidozamia hopei). In the wild it often succumbs to bushfires, charring its stem and resulting in new flushes of foliage in sunny areas. This plant is lovely as a mounded, arching mass of fronds in a mixed tropical border; it will become more tree-like with great age. It may also be used as a container specimen when young and the trunk is still short.