- any of various plants of the genus Zamia, chiefly of tropical and subtropical America, having a short, tuberous stem and a crown of palmlike pinnate leaves.
Origin of zamia
1810–20; < New Latin, misreading of Latin (Pliny) (nucēs) azāniae (plural) pine cone (nuts)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for zamia
Even Zamia pectinata may, as Sternberg remarks, have been a fern.The Testimony of the Rocks
Many of the plants speak the same language—especially the Zamia.The Bushman
Edward Wilson Landor
The other starch, from the Western Australian Zamia, in quality rivalled arrowroot.The Commercial Products of the Vegetable Kingdom
P. L. Simmonds
Kaiber here brought in some of the nuts of the Zamia tree; they were dry and therefore in a fit state to eat.
On passing the last, the party emerged on to poorly grassed, desolate-looking sandstone ridges, covered with grass-tree and zamia.The Overland Expedition of The Messrs. Jardine
Frank Jardine and Alexander Jardine
- any cycadaceous plant of the genus Zamia, of tropical and subtropical America, having a short thick trunk, palmlike leaves, and short stout cones
C19: from New Latin, from Latin zamiae, erroneous reading of phrase nucēs azāniae pine cones, probably from Greek azainein to dry up