Occurrence and genomic organization of dispersed elements containing ZpS1 satellite repeats have been investigated in a wide representation of species of the old plant genus Zamia (Zamiaceae, Cycadales). In Z. paucijuga, the ZpS1 repeat is organized as long satellite DNA arrays and as short arrays inserted into AT-rich dispersed elements. A comparative study by Southern analysis shows that these unusual dispersed elements containing the ZpS1 repeat are present with different organizations in all investigated Zamia species. In some species these elements are present with a low copy number, while in other species secondary amplification events, involving specific sequence clusters, appear to have generated characteristic dispersed elements in a high copy number. Among Zamia species, several groups share similar restriction patterns, as the Zamia loddigesii complex and the Caribbean species suggesting a general correlation between organization and genomic representation of the dispersed repeated sequence and the pattern of phyletic relationships in the genus. However, the finding of different patterns also among closely related species suggests a complex history of amplifications and losses of these dispersed repetitive elements that cannot be always easily traced through the phylogenetic reconstruction of this ancient plant group.