Ceratozamia brevifrons Miq. Tijdschr. wis-en natuurk Wet. 1: 41-42. 1847.

Martinez-Dominguez, Lili, Nicolalde-Morejon, Fernando, Vergara-Silva, Francisco & Stevenson, Dennis Wm., 2018, Taxonomic review of Ceratozamia (Zamiaceae) in the Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico, PhytoKeys 100, pp. 91-124: 95

publication ID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by

PhytoKeys by Pensoft

scientific name

Ceratozamia brevifrons Miq. Tijdschr. wis-en natuurk Wet. 1: 41-42. 1847.


1. Ceratozamia brevifrons Miq. Tijdschr. wis-en natuurk Wet. 1: 41-42. 1847.  Figures 3E, 6B


MEXICO. Veracruz: Alto Lucero de Gutiérrez Barrios, Apr. 2005, S. Avendaño R. 5699 (neotype, designated by Vovides et al. 2012, XAL)


Stem epigeous, erect, 20-70 cm in length, 15-40 cm in diameter. Cataphylls persistent, densely tomentose at emergence, reddish-brown and glabrous at maturity, triangular, apex acuminate, 2-5 × 1.5-4 cm at base. Leaves 6-36, descending, 58-173.5 cm, yellowish-green at emergence with a brown pubescence, glabrous at maturity. Petiole terete, straight, 20-56 cm, armed with short and robust prickles, green in adult leaves. Rachis terete, straight, 35-125.5 cm, armed with prickles, green in adult leaves. Leaflets 13-38, lanceolate, abaxially curved and planar, basally falcate, coriaceous, flat, opposite to subopposite, keeled, light green, adaxial and abaxial surfaces glabrous, acuminate apex, symmetric to asymmetric apex, attenuate at base, with conspicuous and light green veins; median leaflets 15.5-41 × 2-4.1 cm, 0.5-3.2 cm between leaflets; articulations yellow, 0.6-1.7 cm wide. Polliniferous strobilus solitary, cylindrical, erect, 22-31 cm in length, 5-7 cm in diameter, greenish-yellow at emergence, greenish-yellow with brown to blackish pubescence at maturity; peduncle tomentose, reddish-brown to light-brown, 5.5-9.5 cm in length, 1.8-2.2 cm in diameter; microsporophylls 1.6-2.3 × 1.1-1.5 cm, distal face not recurved. Ovuliferous strobilus solitary, cylindrical, erect, 26.5-30 cm in length, 9.8-12 cm in diameter, green with blackish pubescence at emergence, greenish-yellow with brown to blackish trichomes at maturity, acuminate and apiculate apex; peduncle tomentose, brown to reddish-brown, 6-12 cm in length, 2.1-2.4 cm in diameter; megasporophylls 80-154, 1.5-2.5 × 2.3-3.0 cm, prominent distal face, right angle between horns. Seeds ovoid, sarcotesta whitish-yellow to yellow when immature, light brown at maturity, 2.5-3 cm in length, 1.7-2 cm in diameter.

Distribution and habitat.

Endemic to Mexico and only known from the State of Veracruz, in the vicinity of the Sierra de Chiconquiaco, at the transition zone between cloud forest and oak forest, between 500 and 1,350 m of elevation (Fig. 8).


The epithet is derived from referring to its relatively short leaves.

Distinguishing features.

This species is easily distinguished from its congeners by having leaflets adaxially keeled, falcate, basally falcate and coriaceous, petioles armed with short, robust prickles, ovulate strobili greenish-yellow with brown to blackish trichomes at maturity and megasporophylls with a prominent distal face and right angle between horns.

Specimens examined.

MEXICO. Veracruz: Alto Lucero de Gutiérrez Barrios, A. P. Vovides 119 (XAL), D. Jimeno-Sevilla 694 (XAL), F. Nicolalde-Morejón & L. Martínez-Domínguez 2027-2046 (CIB), G. Castillo-Campos 1297 (XAL), J. Rees 1636 (MO, XAL), 1641, 1642, 1675 (XAL), 6345 (IEB), L. Martínez-Domíguez & F. Nicolalde-Morejón 130-133, 216, 229-309 (CIB), M. Vázquez-Torres 4790 (CIB), T. W. Walters 2001-02-A, B (XAL); Chiconquiaco, F. Nicolalde-Morejón & L. Martínez-Domínguez 2237-2241 (CIB), L. Martínez-Domíguez & F. Nicolalde-Morejón 556-560 (CIB); Juchique de Ferrer, A. P Vovides 682 (XAL), G. Castillo-Campos 1710, 1763, 1768, 1815, 1824, 1981 (XAL), M. Vázquez-Torres 8633 (CIB); Vega de Alatorre, B. Guerrero & J. I. Calzada 1826 (XAL), G. Castillo-Campos 2033 (XAL).

Taxonomic comments.

This species name implies a long history of synonymy, which describes a series of substantial taxonomic disagreements. In the pioneer taxonomic treatments for the genus, C. brevifrons  was considered as a synonym to C. mexicana  ( Miquel 1861, 1868-1869; Regel 1876a; Thiselton-Dyer 1884; Schuster 1932), whereas in the most recent treatment it was placed as a synonym of C. mexicana var. mexicana  ( Vovides et al. 1983). In 2012, Vovides and collaborators removed the binomial from this synonymy after finding plants in the wild, which morphologically corresponded to its original description.