Friday, February 08, 2008

The Virgin Palm?

Dioon edule is yet another latin american cycad (we seem to be making more progress with the genus Dioon than any other) and this one is perhaps the most frequently seen of the genus. Dioon edule is more commonly known as the Virgin Palm (but of course its not a palm) for reasons I am not party to or the chestnut dioon (again I have no idea).

dioon edule

Dioon edule will sucker (see above multiheaded female plant), is relatively easily (for a cycad) propagated and grows strongly and easily. For people looking for a first non C. revoluta it is often the first port of call as a result.

dioon edule3

The above picture shows an emerging female cone - Dioon put out huge seed cones which can if properly harvested and treated be used of food (raw, like all cycad parts, they will be very toxic indeed).

blue dioon

One of the really cool things about D. edule is that plants are in the cycad trade from a number of locations and these locations show different colourations and habits. I don't know the provenance of the above multi-headed plant but note it shows an attractive blue sheen. Some locations show other variations (a gold-green, a purplish-green, a certain leaf shape) which make them distinctive and more collectable still whilst retaining D. edule's general easiness to grow. Enthusiasts have even been known to tour mexico to visit the various Dioon species and D. edule localities


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these cycad photos--it's like traveling back in time 250 million years. Cool.

tai haku said...

Glad you enjoyed them Anon. There are more coming soon(ish)