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Useful Tropical Plants

Dioon mejiae

Standl. & L.O.Williams

Zamiaceae

+ Synonyms

Dioon pectinatum Mast.

Common Name: Teosinte

No Image.

General Information

Dioon mejiae is a slow-growing, evergreen, palm-like plant with an erect main stem that can eventually be up to 7.3 metres tall and 17 - 36cm in diameter; this is topped by a crown of numerous large leaves each around 1 - 2 metres long[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
The plant is a staple food for indigenous people in Honduras, where the plant is gathered in quantity from the wild[
1934
Title
Economic Botany of the Cycads
Publication
Econ Bot 12, 3-41 (1958)
Author
Thieret J.W.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02863122
Publisher
 
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The leaves are often gathered from the wild for use as decorations and the plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
The biggest threat to Dioon mejiae comes from habitat destruction as a result of the conversion of habitat to farmland and to a lesser extent the effects of logging and road-building on the habitat. Recent surveys in Honduras, however, indicate that there are many large and healthy subpopulations with little evidence of decline despite use by local people. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

We have no specific information for this species, but most if not all members of this genus are believed to contain toxins. The two main toxic compounds that have been identified are cycasin and macrozamin. When ingested in sufficient quantities, these compounds are extremely poisonous to humans and many other animals, and have been shown to cause liver damage and cancer. Cycasin and macrozamin have a cumulative effect upon the body and are suspected of causing neurological disorders when ingested in small amounts over long periods of time.
There is a long history of human use of this genus as a starch-rich food, but it should be noted that the plants needed to be treated in various ways in order to remove any toxic principles. Caution should be exercised even with properly prepared foods, since even then regular consumption may lead to severe health problems and death. Since many of these species are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, this is probably a food best left to times of food shortage when other, better foods, are not available[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.

Range

C. America - Honduras

Habitat

An understorey component of semi-deciduous tropical rain forest, often found on steep slopes and in canyons, but also growing on flat terrain; at elevations from 265 - 500 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height6.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsWeevils
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Dioon mejiae grows in a subtropical climate in Honduras in an area where the rain falls mainly in the summer[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
]. In cultivation it can also succeed in the tropics and in warm temperate areas with almost frost-free winters Dioon species are often frost tolerant to several degrees below freezing, but lower temperatures will cause foliar damage or complete defoliation. High temperatures and full sun do not usually cause damage, even to forest-dwelling species[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Most species of Dioon are easily cultivated and grow with minimal care[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
]. Some populations of this species thrive in sandy soil or sandy to clayey alluvial deposits, while others grow in loamy, limestone-derived soils; in soils weathered from metamorphics (schists, gneisses); etc[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. Plants are able to grow in low light intensities and on poor soils[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
The stems of Dioon species are clothed in a thick armour of old leaf bases that protect them from the frequent fires that pass through their habitat. Their trunks are also clothed in a thick layer of dense, wooly hairs which persist and give protection until burned off[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Species in this genus form structures known as coralloid roots. These roots branch off from the taproot or secondary roots and are distinctive in that they grow laterally or upward, forming a nodular mass at the apex. These coralloid roots occur slightly below or slightly above the soil surface and generally contain cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. These are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen and make it available as a nutrient to the plant. The ability to extract this important nutrient from the air explains how many cycad species are able to survive on almost sterile soils[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
A dioecious species, with individual plants producing either all male or all female cones. Therefore both male and female forms of the plant need to be grown if seed is required[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].
Female plants only produce one seed cone at each reproductive cycle, which generally occurs once every three to four years. This cone can take more than one year to mature[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
]. The ovoid cones of this species are 30 - 46cm long and 25 - 35cm in diameter, covered with a dense layer of short woolly hairs[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].

Edible Uses

Seeds - ground into a powder[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. The seeds are boiled, ground into a powder and used to make a sort of tortilla[
1934
Title
Economic Botany of the Cycads
Publication
Econ Bot 12, 3-41 (1958)
Author
Thieret J.W.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02863122
Publisher
 
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Said to have a fine flavour[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
]. The irregularly ovoid to subglobose seed is around 45 - 55mm long and 30 - 35mm in diameter[
1935
Title
The Cycads
Publication
 
Author
Whitelock L.M.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-522-5
Description
An excellent book dealing with the eleven different genera and almost 300 species of plants we know as Cycads. There are detailed descriptions and a host of other information for each species.
].

The fleshy testa of the seed can be used as a food[
1934
Title
Economic Botany of the Cycads
Publication
Econ Bot 12, 3-41 (1958)
Author
Thieret J.W.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02863122
Publisher
 
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The stems are rich in starch and can be used to make a sago[
1934
Title
Economic Botany of the Cycads
Publication
Econ Bot 12, 3-41 (1958)
Author
Thieret J.W.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02863122
Publisher
 
Year
1958
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - surface sow on damp sand at a temperature of 24 - 32°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. On emergence of the radicle, pot the seedling into its own pot of a sandy compost and grow on in shaded warm conditions[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Avoid any damage to the taproot and coralloid roots when repotting. Repot and feed frequently to encourage development and plant out when whorls of leaves are being produced, which can be 4 - 8 years[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2022-11-27. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Dioon+mejiae>

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