A small, tough, woody cycad native to the southeast United States (Florida, Georgia), the Bahamas and the Caribbean south to Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico (possibly extinct on this island). The common name is Coontie or Koonti, derived from the Seminole Native American language conti hateka. This cycad produces reddish seed cones with a distinct acuminate tip. The leaves are 1-3 ft long, with 5-30 pairs of leaflets (pinnae). Each leaflet is linear to lanceolate or oblong-obovate, 3-10" long and 1" wide, entire or with indistinct teeth at the tip. They are often revolute, with prickly petioles. It is similar in many respects to the closely related Zamia pumila, but that species differs in the more obvious toothing on the leaflets. This is a low-growing plant, with trunk that grows to 1 ft high and diameter, but is often subterranean. Over time, it forms a multi-branched cluster, with a large, tuberous root system, which is actually an extension of the above-ground stems. Like other cycads, Zamia integrifolia is dioecious, having male or female plants. The male cones are cylindrical, growing to 2-5" long; they are often clustered. The female cones are elongate-ovoid and grow to 2-6" cm long and 2-3" in diameter. Inhabits a variety of habitats with well-drained sands or sandy loam soils. It prefers filtered sunlight to partial shade. A very hardy, and easily grown species for sub-tropical, and warm temperate areas. They prefer lightly shaded, well drained sandy soils. Once common to locally abundant, Zamia integrifolia is becoming increasingly uncommon. Populations are presently limited to central Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Though it was once endemic to southern Puerto Rico and Haiti, it appears to have been eradicated in those areas due to intensive land use. This plant is poisonous, producing a toxin that affects the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. The toxin can however be removed by careful leaching, and the roots and half-buried stems were used by Native American people (notably the Tequesta Indians, the Seminole Indians and the Maroons) for their yield of a sago-like starch. Sago is prepared from the stems. Sago is a dry granulated starch imported from the East Indies, much used for making puddings and as an article of diet for the sick; also, as starch, for stiffening textile fabrics. The root is typically prepared for food by grinding it using a wooden mortar and pestle. The pulp is then saturated and drained. The drained fluid is allowed to dry and the resulting yellowish flour is used in the preparation of various foods. In industrial preparation, multiple macerations serve to bleach the flour to a whiter color.