Dioon purpusii

Dioon purpusii

Dioon purpusii or Mexican Cycad comes from a limited area in Mexico where it is threatened.

It is only slightly hardy and prefers overwintering indoors.

Growth is very slow.

Description:

Dioon purpussi grows up to 1-3 m hight, the pseudostem is on average 30 cm high and leaves up to 160 cm long.

The leaves are dull gray-green, flat or keel-shaped, 80-160 cm long. They are composed of a stalk which bears leaflets on both sides. There are 150-260 leaflets, 7 to 12 cm long, 8-10 mm wide.

The male inflorescence is green or brown, ovoid, 20-30 cm long and 7-8 cm wide.

The female inflorescence is pale brown, ovoid and much larger than the male inflorescence: 35-45 cm long and 15-20 cm wide.

The seeds are ovoid, 3-4 cm long and 2.5-3.5 cm wide. The sarcotesta (outer layer of the seed) is cream or white.

Usage:

Ornamental. The seeds are used locally to treat sore eyes: the seeds are ground into flour made into paste which is applied to the eyes.

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Mexican cycad, Palma de la Virgen, Palmita

Synonym:

Dioon edule var. purpusii

Etymology:

Dioon: from the greek dis (two) and oon (eggs) because the seeds are formed per pair
Purpusii: in honor of the german plant collector Carl Albert Purpus

Origin:

A small area in Mexico: Oaxaca, Puebla. It grows in fertile pockets of soil and prefers a uniform temperature.

Habitat:

Tropical deciduous forest on the sides of steep gorges



Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11, -5 °C for short periods

Care:

Soil:

Well drained, dry, mix: 6 parts peat, 1 part pumice, 1 part organic matter

Exposure:

Sun

Water:

Water every 2-3 weeks with one or two buckets of water (depending on the size of the plant). Let the substrate dry out between waterings.

Feed:

Tolerates poor and dry soil but regular fertilization will promote growth. At the end of winter, give a solid fertilizer that releases nutrients slowly. In spring give liquid fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.

Temperature:

Bring indoors for the winter or provide winter protection

Propagation:

Seed, suckers

Sowing instructions:

  • soak seeds for 24 hours in tepid water
  • sow just under the surface in a mixture 1/1 sand and peat
  • moisten
  • 25 °C
  • germination: 1-3 months

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