Purpus’ Cycad, Dioon purpusii

Dioon purpusii is a cycad plant species that also may be referred to as Palma de la virgen, palmita. The species belongs to the Zamiaceae family. Dioon purpusii is native to Oaxaca, Puebla, a very small region in Mexico.

Dioon purpusii can be found inhabiting short tree forests or lower oak forests. The species prefers rich soil and moderate temperatures. The plant commonly grows to approximately 16 feet tall.

The plants many feather-like leaves grow between 31.5 to 63 inches in length. Dioon purpusii leaves are commonly flat and they have a grayish green coloration. Each leaf holds between 150 and 260 leaflets.

Reproductive seed cones make male and female plants fairly easy to differentiate. Female cones are large, light brown and ovoid. Male pollen cones are green and only between 8 to 12 inches long. The Dioon purpusii’s seeds may sometimes be used as medicine for treating sore eyes.

The Dioon purpusii is a species currently “vunerable” to becoming endangered. Its population decline has seen a 47 percent drop in the last 50 years.

Image Caption: Purpus’ cycad, (Dioon purpusii). Credit: Tato Grasso/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)