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Species profile—Bowenia spectabilis


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → ZamiaceaeBowenia spectabilis

Photo of Bowenia spectabilis () - Forster, P.,Queensland Herbarium, DES (Licence: CC BY NC)
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Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Scientific name
Bowenia spectabilis Hook. ex Hook.f.
WildNet taxon ID
Alternate name(s)
zamia fern
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Conservation significant
Pest status
Bowenia spectabilis is a cycad with an underground stem to 10cm in diameter, branched into 1-5 short, slender crowns. Each crown has 1-7 erect leaves,1-2m long and 0.4-1m wide, each with 4-10 spreading branches (pinnae). There are 7-30 lance-shaped leaflets (pinnules) per branch, each measuring 7-15cm long by 1.5-4cm wide. The leaflet margins are entire or a few may have occasional irregular lacerations and rarely have short, regular serrations.
The pollen cones are stalked, egg-shaped, 3-6cm long and 2-3cm in diameter. Seed cones are egg-shaped to globular, not stalked, and 10-12cm in length and 7-10cm in diameter. The seeds are 2.5-3.5mm long, 1.5-2mm wide and have a pale pinkish to purplish seed coat. (Hill 1998)
Bowenia spectabilis grows in open situations, from flat terrain to steep hillsides to 700m altitude on the Atherton Tableland. It occurs in and around rainforest, vine forest, coastal forest, creek banks and in sheltered areas with rocks or boulders. It has been recorded on clayey and alluvial soils, particularly on sandy soils derived from metamorphic rocks and granite. (Hill 1998; Herbrecs 2008)
Bowenia species appear to be pollinated by a species of Miltotranes weevil.
Human uses
The species is reputed to have toxic parts (Everist 1974, Lazarides and Hince 1993).
Management documents
Conservation and management of protected plants in trade in Queensland 1995-1998. Department of Environment.
Contributors: Ailsa Holland, Gary Wilson, Mellisa Mayhew 17/06/2009
Everist, S. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. Angus and Robertson Publishers Pty Ltd. Sydney.
Herbrecs (2008). Bowenia spectabilis, in BriMapper version 2.12. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 24/09/2008.
Hill, K.D. in McCarthy, P.M. (Ed) (1998). Flora of Australia 48: 636-637.
Hill, K. & Osborne, R. (2001). Cycads of Australia. Kangaroo Press, Australia.
Jones, D.L. (2002). Cycads of the World, Ancient Plants in Today's Landscape. edn 2. New Holland Publishers, Australia.
Lazarides, M. & Hince, D. (Eds). (1993). CSIRO Handbook of Economic Plants of Australia. CSIRO Publications. Canberra.
Wilson, G.W. (2002). Insect pollination in the cycad genus Bowenia Hook, ex Hook.F. (Stangeriaceae). Biotropica 34(3): 438-441.
Profile author
Ailsa Holland (17/06/2009)

Other resources

Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0.

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Last updated
20 May 2024