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Dioon spinulosum

Dioon spinulosumDioon spinulosum derives its name from Latin, meaning spiny. It has shiny, stiff, bright green leaves that grow in an upright manner. It is the largest American cycad, growing up to 50 ft tall in habitat, over centuries. In a garden this plant will typically grow to 5-12 feet with a 6 foot leaf spread and a 12+ inch diameter trunk. Its pinnate (feather-shaped) leaves are 5-7 ft long and extend radially out from the trunk with 150-250 leaflets on each leaf. These leaflets are flat, with small marginal thorns tapering to a sharp point.

In habitat, Dioon spinulosum grows in rocky, limestone evergreen forests in the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Yucatan in Mexico at up to 1500 feet above sea level. This plant is fast growing for a cycad and may be the most popular Dioon. It prefers a subtropical or tropical climate, and partial shade or filtered sun. It handles moisture and humidity better than most cycads, but must be kept in well-draining soil like nearly all cycads. It is frost-sensitive

Dioon spinulosum can work as an indoor plant in a brightly lit spot, or in a conservatory or greenhouse. It adds an exotic but formal touch in any garden in warm temperate to tropical climates. It can be an excellent feature plant in a tropical or desert landscape, often substituting for a true palm where a large crown is desired without a tall trunk. Dioon spinulosum can also have a spectacular place in a small garden where space is limited, or as an exotic striking understory plant beneath large trees or any structure that allows at least filtered sunlight.

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Dioon spinulosum