Cycads - D. Spinulosum
Tropical Gardens and Beautiful Flora
Hacienda Chichen, Chichen Itza, Yucatan
Cycad, Dioon spinulosum, Cycadaceae. Zamiaceae
family native to Mexico. All
Cycads are gymnosperms ancient simple mega-sporophylls, palm-like
plants, that lived in the Permian era, over 200 million
years ago. Blue Dioon spinulosa is native to Mexico.
These remarkable exotic palm-like plants
are facing extinction, thus protected at
Hacienda Chichen Botanical Gardens
in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. Cycads like Dioon Cycads are a
distinct monophyletic group, defined by the presence of cycasin, the frond leaves toothed margins,
huge sporophylls cylindrical cones covered in
golden short hairs, and the
absence of auxiliary buds and
There are three cycad families:
Stangeriaceae, Zamiaceae, and Cycadaceae.
A good field mark for cycads of
the genus Dioon is to observe the frond sections,
or pinnae, which should bear several parallel veins -
there's no outstanding mid-vein or reticulation - noting
that each pinna bears small, sharp spines along its margins.
status: 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants - Rare
Distribution and habitat: Mexico - Oaxaca, Veracruz, Yucatan
Description of Dioon Cycads:
- Plants arborescent. Stem 10 m tall, 40 cm diam.
- Leaves light or bright green, highly glossy,
150-200 cm long, flat (not keeled) in section (opposing
leaflets inserted at 180° on rachis), with 140-240 leaflets;
basal leaflets reducing to small and stiff sharp spines.
- Leaflets lanceolate, not falcate, inserted at
80-90° to rachis, not overlapping; margins flat, dentate;
median leaflets 15-20 cm long, 14-20 mm wide.
- Pollen cones narrowly ovoid to fusiform,
pale grey, 40-55 cm long, 7-10 cm diam
- Seed cones ovoid, pale grey, 30-90 cm
long, 20-35 cm diam.
- Seeds ovoid, 40-50 mm long, 30-35 mm wide,
At Hacienda Chichen's lush tropical
gardens, guests can enjoy many Dioon Cycads, Dioon spinulosum,
just by strolling the main walking paths nearby the Colonial
Main Mansion where the two
gourmet restaurants of this lovely green spa hotel serves delicious Mayan and Fusion Cuisine, a menu
that will delight any guest; do try their 100% organic fruits and
vegetables grown within the hotel's property.
We invite you to review
Complete Hacienda Chichen's Flora Guide filled
with beautiful photographs of fruit trees, Mayan medicinal trees,
Palm collection and other beauties found in the lush tropical
gardens and private Maya Jungle Nature Reserve of this unique green
(Dioon Cycads photos by
Belisa B. Gordon - Jim Conrad)
Jim Conrad's own writing:
Dioon Cycads at
Hacienda Chichen's Entrance
Even before I'd introduced myself to the
Hacienda Chichen staff I got sidetracked at the office's entrance,
admiring the handsome plant (picture above) "What on Earth kind of
palm is that?" I heard myself almost say, before noticing the
21-inch-long (53 cm), pale-tan-colored item emerging among the
fronds at the trunk's top. In fact, there were two of them, and you
can see a close-up of the Dioon Cycads palm and cone fruits (main
Palms don't produce fruits like that. Typical palm fruits are like
small coconuts, for coconuts are indeed palm fruits. What's in the
picture is some kind of cone. A good field mark for cycads of the
genus Dioon is that the frond sections, or pinnae, bear several
parallel veins -- there's no outstanding mid-vein or reticulation.
Also, each pinna bears small, sharp, stiff "teeth" along its
When finally I'd noticed all this I realized I
had a cycad, one of those "living fossils" it's always nice to
encounter. Cycads are gymnosperms and thus most closely related to
plants such as ginkgos and yews, but really their closest relatives
went extinct millions of years ago, so now cycads as a group occupy
a rather isolated branch of the evolutionary Tree of Life.
Yucatan flora: Cycads at Hacienda
Chichen Eco-Spa Resort, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico:
Visit our recommended Chichen Services Mayan
Vacations Portal to enjoy Yucatan, Mexico:
Yucatan Adventure Green
Travel Guide is a volunteer Sustainable Green Travel Guide designed
by the Maya Foundation In Laakeech A. C. a NGO sustainable civil
society founded by Hacienda Chichen Resort's owners and staff in
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. Hacienda Chichen's
sustainable green vision and eco-cultural mission committed to
provide travelers a soulful Mayan cultural experience as well as a
Green Getaway to explore the eco-wonders and cultural traditions of
the Maya; as well as to support the welfare of
Mayan rural communities and to promote
Geo-Tourism. Visit Hacienda Chichen Resort and
Yaxkin Spa's website:
Chichen Resort's Flora Guide and Botanical Gardens beauty and
serenity when visiting Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.
Published Photos &
Information Courtesy of
Hacienda Chichen Resort and Mr. Jim Conrad
Maya Foundation In Laakeech A.C. Volunteer.