Trunk to almost 1 m tall, strongly scurfy when young. Leaves with spiny stalks and axes. Leaflets stiff and leathery, blue-green (yellowish in some cultivated specimens), mostly broadest above the middle. Male cones to about 10 cm long, rusty brown and resembling a stalked corn cob. Female cones to about 20 cm long.
The small Z. pumila L. from C America and Cuba is sometimes sold.
Broad, blunt, hairy leaves.
Source: (1995). Zamiaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.