Dioon Species, Chestnut Dioon, Cycad, Edible-Seed Cycas

Dioon edule

Family: Zamiaceae
Genus: Dioon (dy-OH-awn) (Info)
Species: edule (ED-yew-lee) (Info)
Synonym:Dioon edule var. edule
Synonym:Dioon imbricatum
Synonym:Dioon strobilaceum



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



This plant is fire-retardant

This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:




18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Brentwood, California

El Cerrito, California

Hayward, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Wildomar, California

Brandon, Florida

Fruitland Park, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Windermere, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

Las Vegas, Nevada

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Portland, Oregon

Cayce, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Cedar Park, Texas

Pearland, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 18, 2021, markdeutsch from Pass Christian, MS wrote:

Your posting says," Seeds poisonous if ingested.", but this is Dioon EDULE. EDULE means EDIBLE. I checked other sources that say the seeds are edible.


On Feb 26, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- I am impressed with the versatility of Dioon edule. For about 20 years I had a plant in a medium-size pot in partial shade that got water every other week in summer and none in winter. It stayed outside in winter with no freeze damage. It got quite potbound, so I pulled it out and used a hatchet to separate the dense woody root mass. I thought I had killed it, but one of the 2 divisions regrew and is now in the same pot, but with less water and more shade. It seems happy. I also have a two-year old plant in dense shade with water once a month in summer and none in winter. It is doing very well. Another two-year old plant, in a large pot in partial shade with every-other-week summer water is doing poorly.


On Nov 28, 2012, Phoolan from San Luis Obispo, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

My dioon was 4' when purchased and spent a year in it's nursery pot before I planted it in a semi-sheltered spot. I live in the coastal Rio Grande Valley, the soil in my yard is poor and sandy. Harsh, salty winds are nearly constant. Temperatures in the summer were between 90 to 100 degrees for months. Other specimens that I've noticed around town, planted in full sun, look bleached and exhausted. Given part shade, enough but not too much water, a little fertilizer and it's been doing well.


On Jan 10, 2010, TheAmericanGardener from Portland, OR wrote:

Experimenting with this cycad in the ground in Portland Oregon. It has survived 2 hard freezes each lasting a week or more. I have a small and larger one both on the south facing side of the house. Smaller one has taken leaf damage each time but the larger one has taken no cold damage, only snow load damage. I would not say it takes snow load well when its leafs are large but I am impressed with how cold hardy it is.


On Jun 20, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Dioon edule is native to northern and central Mexico (Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Queretaro, and Veracruz).

It grows in rocky habitats where annual rainfall is 39-59 inches. Grows well here in zone 9b.

Zamiaceae are listed on CITES Appendix II.


On Sep 26, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Though this plant is so common, it's hard to get excited about it anymore, still a nice looking older specimen is a great looking plant, so I guess my experience has been positive. I have germinated countless numbers of this species, and they have got to be one of the easiest plants in the world to germinate. The seeds are about a large grape size and hard as a rock, yet somehow that little eophyl makes its way out into the soil.

Like most all Dioons, this is a Mexican native, and is not threatened at this time (unlike about all other members of the genus). It is readily found in most nurseries in Southern California and is quite hardy here. It is a very adaptable plant to just about any soil except muddy, non-draining clay (and even then it will sometimes survive.. bu... read more