Ceratozamia totonacorum

Ceratozamia totonacorum is named for the local people where it occurs in Puebla, Mexico.  This plant was discovered in the search for a notorious plant with the moniker ‘Redback’.  Jeff Chemnick studied cultivated plants and wanted to find the population in habitat.  He looked at vouchers in various herbaria and noticed the absence of Ceratozamia vouchers from the state of Puebla while many have been collected north and south of Puebla.   In visiting the area he found suitable habitat and discovered this plant.  It looks very similar to a robust Ceratozamia fuscoviridis.  In fact, the Veracruz botanist Mario Vazquez Torres visited the plants and decided they were not a unique species.  Jeff presented his field work and study at the conference on cycad biology in Colombia.  Apparently his work was noticed and a new species has been accepted. 

Plants live on incredibly steep slopes, so steep it’s nearly impossible to stand.  A shallow layer of rich humus covered the weathered soil.  Leaves exceeded 2 meters in length and hung.  Plants held 4-6 leaves.  The leaflets were dark green on top and prominently reddish underneath. The rachis is dark colored unlike Ceratozamia fusco viridis which has a yellow rachis.

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