Plant Spotlight: Coontie
The coontie (Zamia pumilia) is a native Florida plant that many people are probably familliar with, but few can identify by name. While today the coontie is almost exclusively found in landscaping, it used to be a fairly common wild plant. Native Americans used to dig up these plants and use their roots to make flour. European settlers soon caught on to this trick, and eventually, the coontie was all but devoured in the wild.
The coontie is naturally found in dry and sandy environments, and has dark green palm-like leaves. The leaves do not have spines on the end, and the coontie ususally grows to around 3 feet tall. This plant is great for landscaping because it is very low maintenance, and does not typically require any additional watering. It may look like it belongs in the palm family, but the coontie is actually a member of the Cycadaceae family which are palm-like plants that produce cone-like structures for reproduction.
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Did you know that coontie plants are the natural source of Arrowroot, a common thickener used by chefs?