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M. moorei in Springsure National Park
(Photo: Scott Maclean)

Macrozamia comes from the Greek makros, large, and Zamia a genus of cycads.

There are 40 species, in two sections, all endemic in Australia, with 34 in eastern Australia, 1 in central Australia in the Macdonnell Ranges of Northern Territory (M. macdonnellii) and 3 in the south-west. Recent studies have enumerated a number of new species, several of which are rare and inaccessible however the newly described taxa have not been fully evaluated, and some changes in the taxonomy of the genus may be expected in the future.

Several species were important food sources for Australian Aborigines, although only after extensive processing to remove toxins. They typically pounded and then soaked the seeds in water for about a week, either in a running stream or changing the water daily. The pulp was then made into cakes and roasted over hot embers.

The more abundant species have also been recorded as livestock poisons. Most species have at some time gone under the common name of Burrawang, although this is somewhat in error. The word is from the Dharuk language (the people originally of the Sydney and Illawarra region), "barawan[g]", referring to M. communis. The term Burrawang has since been applied by European writers to most other Australian cycads (Macrozamia, Lepidozamia and Cycas)

Macrozamia Links

Pages in category "Macrozamia"

This category contains only the following page.