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Large Dioon spinulosum and me at the San Diego Zoo

Large Dioon spinulosum and me at the San Diego Zoo (Dioon spinulosum)

I'm standing in front of large Dioon spinulosum at the San Diego Zoo. The San Diego Zoo has the second largest collection of cycads in North America. Unfortunately, the photo isn't so clear as the sun was going down. Photo taken on our Veterans Day Holiday - Nov. 11, 2013.

Comments on this photo


Hi Andy...............

13 Nov, 2013


Nice photo & I love the plant.

14 Nov, 2013


Nice to see you Delonix. Such huge plants.
It looks HOT!!

14 Nov, 2013


Hello Milky. :>)

14 Nov, 2013



Thank you. These are some of the many cycads at the San Diego Zoo.

14 Nov, 2013


Hello Shirlwhirl:

These are small cycads, they grow much taller than these.

It's been hot here for the last 7 or 8 days. Today the high temp here (where I live) was 90ºF (32ºC) and some places further inland were hotter. It's still 72ºF (22ºC) outside at I write this comment.

14 Nov, 2013


Wow Delonix, bit hot for me, even though I do like the heat!
Getting colder here now, around 10 deg, & has been below freezing a few nights recently.
I hate the long, cold, dark winters. Roll on Spring I say, tho' shouldn't wish our time away I guess!

I thought those looked big!!!! How tall can they get?

14 Nov, 2013


Hi Delonix, nice to see you! :-)) I've seen photos of Cycads before but never with a person close by for scale comparison!

We had frost overnight here & we expect next week to be very cold with an Arctic blast coming our way for Monday to Wednesday - at least! :-(( Makes me wish I lived in a warmer climate!

14 Nov, 2013



That sounds very cold! I don't like cold weather. Luckily, I don't get freezing temps or frost where I live here in San Diego, CA.

It's already 83ºF (28ºC) at 9:00 a.m., which is pretty hot for this time in the morning; however, not too unusual for this time of year. This weekend the weather is going to cool down to 72ºF (22ºC) during the day. It's going to warm back up the beginning of next week again, though.

Dioon spinulosum can grow to 12m tall. It's one of the larger growing cycads.

14 Nov, 2013


Hello Balcony:

Cycads grow large here. The largest and fastest-growing cycads are Cycas cicinalis and C. rumphii, they're common name is queen cycad (for both). They grow pretty quickly to 20ft (6m) tall. Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm) is the most commonly planted cycad in California. It grows slowly to 20ft (6m), taking 50 - 90 years or longer to attain such a height.

Sorry to hear you're having frost so early in the year! (or is it early for you?) The arctic blast sounds like really bad news. I hope it moderates before hitting your area.

14 Nov, 2013


cycads are fascinating... will they grow where winter temps come close to freezing? (I'm thinking of Vancouver Island or the islands in the Georgia Straits.)

15 Nov, 2013


Yes, some species of cycads will easily tolerate temps below 20ºF (-6.7ºC). Mature established Dioon edule has tolerated temps down to 9ºF (-12.8ºC) with minimal damage (it needs high heat to initiate growth, though) . The majority of the species are subtropical or tropical, though.

15 Nov, 2013


Thanks for this D1. I hope to have a solarium at some point and I have always wanted a cycad collection. ;-)

16 Nov, 2013


Cycads are easy to grow. They grow slowly and are pretty manageable as a house plant. They're fronds can be very spiky, though.

16 Nov, 2013


Wow that is some Cycad, ours is still a baby and will not be allowed out this winter to play lol great pic and good to see you Del....

16 Nov, 2013



Like I said: these are still babies. There's some huge 20 ft (6m) tall Cycas rumphii - Queen Sagos just to the right of these.

Your poor cycad it can't go outside to play! LOL!

I would like to take a lot of more photos of the cycads at the San Diego Zoo. It would be many hundreds of photos, it's the second largest collection of cycads in North America. I think the largest cycad collection is at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami, Florida.

17 Nov, 2013


Unfortunately you do not see many mature specimens over here, far too cold.:-(

17 Nov, 2013


Yes, I wouldn't think there would be too many large specimens there. Most cycads, even though some very hardy need a tremendous amount of heat to grow well. Some species, like Dioon will not grow any fronds at all, if the temps are not consistently hot.

18 Nov, 2013


This is one of the best cycads for the SF bay area..trunking and having that beautiful blue green color. I have one that needs to be moved to much more sun. Still,it's flushing. The better you get at growing,the harder it is to find the open sun.

1 Sep, 2014


I thought Dioon edule was the one that grew best in the SF Bay Area. I always think of the hardiness of D. spinulosum as being the same as Cycas circinalis.

1 Sep, 2014


D.edule might be hardier to ultimate cold. But,D.spinulosum is faster growing. UC Berkeley has one that has quite a bit of trunk. And unlike the South African cycads that are from confiscated smuggled plants,that D.spinullosum is all home grown.
C.circinalis leaves/fronds are hardy to about 28f,the plant itself I cant say. Its another good grower as long as you give it full sun.
Thats really the key..bay area tropicals need full sun all year. Winter sun is very important. If low winter sun makes what was sunny in summer now in shade or even part shade?- things will rot.

1 Sep, 2014


May I was thinking of Cycas ruumphii, which is the more tropical one that grows here.

2 Sep, 2014


Some cycad experts say all the C. circinalis,rumpii,and thoursii,are all the same plant. Then why didnt they notice 100 years ago,they all looked the same? and that technical differences weren't in stone?...any of them can have certain traits or not.
Too complicated.

3 Nov, 2014


They could varieties of C. circinalis.

4 Nov, 2014


One year later? SD is having 90+ temps!..Hayward was close to 80's and 73 at sundown. But,I know- soucal mornings warm up incredibly fast..then might not get much warmer. Here its a continual buildup.

btw- Lotusland has the largest Cycad collection. They can grow the jungle cycads just across the path from the blue Cycads from dry south africa. California.

9 Nov, 2014


Yes, it's been very hot; although, today the temps have cooled down. I'm so glad!

Where I live it was 85 to 87 degrees by 10:00 a.m. when I checked Hayward's weather at the same time it was only in the low 60's. This is why I can grow a lot more tropicals.

I always assumed that Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Miami, Fl. had the largest collection of cycads in North America. I completely forgot about the huge, old collections of cycads at Lotusland in (Montecito) Santa Barbara.

I've never been to Lotusland and I've wanted to go for many years...even before it was ever open for public tours.

10 Nov, 2014

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