Plants have always fascinated me, but in a very limited capacity. I grow food and I’ve always viewed my plants through that lens. That all changed when I was given a Zamia about a year ago.
Although they are just aesthetic, I’ve always owned houseplants. They definitely add a fresh lively element to a space, but I’m also not a very creative decorator and stick to what I know.
When my grandfather passed away last year, one of my coworkers popped by unexpectedly and dropped off a tiny zamia along with their condolences. I already had a very large one that, again, I never thought twice about. I expected this one would share the same fate, but I was wrong.
I placed the plant in my dining room without too much thought, treating it like I would any other plant. The next morning, as I shuffled past it in search of coffee, it struck me. Its connection to people and events in my life made it feel like more than just another plant, and I instantly thought of my grandfather. He would have scoffed at it; perhaps said it was a boring looking plant. The thought made me chuckle and put a welcome smile on my face.
Zamia furfuracea: The Remembrance Plant
The next morning, again on a quest for caffeine, I was struck by the plant. Its stems and leaves had shifted and spread out as it adapted to its new surroundings. As I noticed this I thought again about my grandfather and that smile returned.
That was over a year ago and as the plant has grown my grief has passed, but it still catches my eye often.
Zamias aren’t flashy plants and I’m sure my coworker considered it no more than a kind gesture, but it’s become so much more than that. It’s captured a moment in time and, every morning while I shamble towards the kitchen, it gives me an opportunity to reflect.
I’ve always had an extremely simple view of plants: they grow, produce fruit, and fulfill their role in the ecosystem. But that silly little Zamia showed me that a plant can be so much more than just a sum of its parts.