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Abstract Five species in the genus Zamia are known to occur in Ecuador. Zamia poeppigiana Mart. & Eichler occurs in a variety of habitats, such as dry forest in Tumbez (Peru), transition forest in the coastal cordillera near Pedernales (Ecuador), and moist tropical forest in the northwestern Ecuadorian corner. In this last site population sizes vary with conservation status of the forest. Zamia roezlii Linden is the species with the widest range, in the southern end of the biogeographical Choc, where habitat destruction (long cutting, agriculture, and cattle) is the main threat to that species. Populations of Z. gentryi Dodson, a recently described endemic, also occurs in the same region and is the most threatened. However, populations in the Awa Indians Reserve appear to be the most suitable for future biological studies. A relatively common and widely distributed species, Z. amazonum Stevenson, is very poorly known in Ecuador, and its actual status and distribution needs to be investigated. The same is true for Z. ulei U. Dammer, which is known from only two Ecuadorian populations.