A true living fossil, the Macrozamia moorei is a robust cycad which has already been in existence for 300 million years. Neither a fern nor a palm, the Marozomia presents itself in two distinct and complementary states: in the male state, with a cone filled with pollen, or in the female state, with ovules.
Macrozamia is a Neolatin term composed of the words “macro” (“largest”) and “Zamia”, derived from “Zamia nuces”, itself a misreading of “azaniae nuces” which means pine cones. The species was named Moorei in honour of Charles Moor, Head of Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens in the 19th century.
Description and flowering period
Macrozamia moorei is a plant reaching over 7 meters in height – the tallest species of the genus. The stipe (fake-trunk) reaches from 50 to 80cm in diameter. The compound leaves are 2.5 meter long and are composed of 120 to 220, 30cm long leaflets. Like cycads, Macrozamia moorei belongs to the Cycadales order, which appeared 300 million years ago in the Palaeozoic era. Those plants produce “naked seeds”, which is to say they are not protected inside a fruit. Such plants are called Gymnosperms. Despite its overall similar appearance, it is therefore neither a palm (which belongs to the group of Angiosperms: whose seeds are protected by a fruit), nor a tree-fern (which bears spores and not seeds). Similarly to all other Cycadales, Macrozamia is dioecious: individual plants are either male or female and their respective cones carry either pollinic-sacs or ovules.
It has to be reserved for tropical or sub-tropical climates and requires a free-draining soil.
Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN