The Zamiaceae are afamily of plantsbelonging to the Cycadalesorder that is divided in two subfamilies with 8 genera and150 species. They are spread in thetropical regions ofAfrica, Australia, North and South America. In outer appearance they resemble palms and even ferns, yet, genetically they are not connected with these plants.
The members of the family areperennial dioecious plants (there are both male and female specimen). Their stems are cylindrical, high, erect, usually not branching. Theirleavesare simple pinnate, long, dense, spirally arranged, growing out of the top of the trunk. The labia (cells regulating the exchange of gases and water vapor) are located on the two surfaces of the leaves or solely upon the inferior surface. The roots form supplementary (adjuvant) roots in the stem base developing on or beneath the surface of the soil.
The plantsin the familyare poisonous as they contain poisonous glycosides known as cycasins.