Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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Synonym: Zamia floridana
There are two varieties of coontie in Florida. The east coast shown here and the narrow-leaf form found in the western and southern peninsula. Coontie is also found in the southeastern coastal counties of Georgia, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Although poisonous, coontie was an important food source for the Seminoles and earlier Florida native tribes. Properly processed, the roots produced an edible flour -like starch. In the 1800's starch factories in South Florida contributed to the decline of the slow growing plant.