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Encephalartos Transvenosus
Dioon Mejiae
Dioon Spinulosum
Dioon Mejiae
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Dioon Edule

Knowledge of the Mexican and Honduran cycad Dioon (‘two ova') stems principally from the studies and explorations of Charles J Chamberlain, whose first visit to Mexico was in 1904.


While individuals of D. spinulosum may attain a height of 16 metres, more typical individuals run 3 - 6 metres tall and other Dioon species are lower. Dioon edule, for example, seldom reaches a height of 3 metres and it is usually in the 1 - 1.5 metre range.

Most cycad stems show little wood in cross sections, but older stems of Dioon display a zone of xylem 8 - 10 cm thick; the bulk of the stem is composed of thick zones of starch-laden pith and cortex.

Typical of all species of Dioon are non-articulated leaflets, broadly inserted along the leaf rachises and Dioon is thus the only New World cycad having non-articulated pinnae. The leaves of the closely related D. spinulosum, D. rzedowskii, and D. mejiae are on the order on 2 - 3 metres in length, somewhat, lax and a glossy dark-green, with up to 120 leaflet pairs per frond. Those of D. spinulosum are equipped with marginal spines, as the species name implies, though this character is somewhat variable; the leaflets of D. rzedowskii and D. mejiae are entire (ie smooth-margined). Other species of Dioon are generally of a lower stature, with stiff fronds and sharp-pointed leaflets, which depending on the species, may or may not have marginal teeth.

Females of D. spinulosum (and probably D. mejiae, whose female cones have not been described) produce very large, pendant cones, among the largest in the Cycadales.

Mature female cones of these species measure up to 60 cm in length and 27 cm in diameter; those of other Dioon species are smaller and semi-erect.

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Dioon Edule Female Cone Small
Female Cone
Dioon Edule Male Cone Small
Male Cone
Dioon Edule Small
Dioon Spinulosum Small



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