Dioon spinulosum

Dioon spinulosum

Dioon spinulosum or Giant Dioon is one of the tallest and easiest to grow cycas.

It is a living fossil from the Mesozoic era, found in the rainforests in Mexico where it is endangered due to its restricted habitat and deforestation.

This is the fastest growing cycad.

Description:

Grows up to 1.5-3.5 m high in culture, 12 m in habitat. The trunk measures up to 30 cm in diameter.

The leaves are pinnate, 1.5-2 m long and radiate from the trunk. Each leaf has 150-250 leaflets. The leaflets are small, with marginal thorns and end in a sharp point.

Flowers are insignificant but the fruit is huge and can weigh 15 kg. Flowering occurs after 15 years for male plants and 17 years for female plants.

Usage:

Ornamental.
Seeds are used to produce flour (but recent studies have shown that all cycas contain dangerous carcinogens and neurotoxins).

Nomenclatuur:

Common names:

Cycad, Giant Dioon, Mexican Dioon, Spiny Dioon

Etymology:

Dioon: from the Greek dis (two) and oon (egg) because the seeds are formed in pairs
Spinulosum: from the Latin spinula (small thorn)

Origin:

Mexico

Habitat:

In rain forests, on rocky slopes and hills



Hardiness:

USDA zone 9-11, -4 °C for short periods of time

Care:

Soil:

Arid

Exposure:

Sun, light, partial shade

Water:

Let the soil dry in between waterings

Feed:

Resists poor and arid soil but regular fertilizing will result in better growth

Propagation:

Seed, suckers

Sowing instructions:

  • soak for 2 days in lukewarm water
  • sow in light mix
  • 30-35 °C
  • germination time: 7 days to 6 months

Image sources

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