Monday, June 01, 2009

Dioon rzedowskii

So I recently got the chance to spend some time wandering the St. George's Botanic Garden in St. Croix. Now the good news is that this is a rather delightful little garden with a whole cycad section. The less good news is that it took a hammering during a hurricane and is still recovering and the island of St. Croix in general is infested with a type of cycad pest the combination of which has killed a few plants (I base this statement solely on the presence of their labels left plantless like little tombstones here and there) and left a few others in need of a little TLC. A few of the plants are really doing well though and one of them is this:

dioon rzed2

What is it you ask? Well that is an excellent question and for much of the afternoon looked like being one I'd struggle to answer. I was convinces it was a Dioon because, well, it looked Dioon-ish. As to species I was a little stumped. Eventually after a bit of searching I came across a near buried label that gave this beauty a name. Its Dioon rzedowskii.

dioon rzed3

As you can see the leaves are pretty simple but rather impressive. I suspect they are a little more elongated than usual as the plant was in a fair bit of shade. Wondering about the name? It is named for Jerzy Redowski, a Polish-born Mexican botanist who also has a pine tree named after him (lucky chap). As you may be able to see from the photo below this specimen is a little lopsided and is putting up with some volunteer palm and climber seedlings to boot.

dioon rzed

Like most other Dioons (of which we've now covered a surprising number) this is originally a mexican species. Its known to tolerate slightly more acid soil than most others but other than that is fairly typical of this beautiful genus.

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