Jungle Music Palms and Cycads Nursery

Nursery Hours:
Monday -Saturday
   9AM - 4PM M-4PM
nursery open

Phone: (619) 291-4605

Fax: (619) 574-1595
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back button                Banner Cycad Definitions and Facts



Cycad:  These are primitive plants that have changed little since the time of the dinosaurs and are found from many temperate to tropical areas throughout the world.  They typically have stout trunks holding up a crown of firm and stiff leaves.

Cycad Types and Species:  There are probably nearly four hundred different and known species of cycads.  As taxonomic work has continued, the list of species known is continuing to expand.  There are about ten to eleven different genera of cycads.  Their appearance, size and character are all different.  For more information on the many types of cycads, see other articles elsewhere at this website.  A link is given below.

Cycad Caudex:  This term refers to the stem or trunk of a cycad plant.  It is usually somewhat rough in texture and can be as short as a few inches to well over fifty feet tall.  This caudex supports the crown of leaves.  As cycads age, the trunk develops vertical height.  Therefore, trunk diameter and more importantly trunk height, help tell you the age of the plant.

Cycad Leaves Depending on the species, these can be as short as a foot long or up to twenty feet.  Cycads have pinnate leaves with leaflets to either side of the stem.  Color is usually green although blue leaflets are also seen.  Leaves often have armor (spines) either on the leaflets or stem. 

Cycad Cones:  All cycads are either male of female.  The cones of each sex are different.  Male cones produce pollen that must be transferred to the female cone to make viable seeds.  Cones are unique to each species and can be an assortment of colors from green to yellow to red as well as many earth tone colors.  Cones are a mainstay in the taxonomic determination of species.

Cycad Seeds The female cones that are pollinated can make seeds which germinate and produce a cycad plant.  Seeds often need to mature before germination and the fruit is usually removed prior to germination.

Cycad Leaf Color:  The majority have green leaves.  Sometimes new leaves emerge red or brown.  They later turn to green.  But, there are many species of cycads that have gray or blue leaves and they hold onto this color.

Cycad Cold Tolerance:  The most cold hardy cycads tolerate temperatures into the upper teens F.  But, there are tropical species that do not tolerate a freeze.

Cycad Sun Requirements:  In milder or tropical climates, most species prefer full sun.  There are some that want shade, especially the tropical Zamias and Ceratozamia.  Also, in hot inland desert type climates, protection from full sun is required.  In these areas part day sun for a few hours is best. 

Cycads in the Landscape:  Cycads are amazing because they usually are drought tolerant yet look tropical and lush.  Overall size ranges from a few feet to much overhead.  They are slow growing & a wonderful addition in the garden.  Most designers and landscape architects consider cycads to be top end landscape items.  There are no plants on Earth that are quite as rare and coveted as cycads.

Mature Cycad Plant Size:  As there are probably about four hundred different cycad species, sizes are widely variable.  Some species such as understory Zamias, tend to be small or under three feet tall.  Other species can take quite a bit of room and get tall.  Examples would be Lepidozamia peroffskyana and Encephalartos transvenosus.  Plants such as these need ample space in the garden.

Cycad Conservation and Protection:  CITES laws prevent the international shipping or sale of most cycads (without required permits).  Many species are critically endangered and protected by conservation laws.  As a group, cycads are considered to be one of the most rare group of plants that one could utilize or put into a garden.

Cycad Rarity:  Many species of cycads are extremely rare.  Many are endangered, some critically, in their habitat locations.  As a group, cycads are one of the most  sought after and rare types of plants in the world.  Yet, they have survived on this planet for hundreds of millions of years - they are a very resilient type of plant.  With their slow growth rate and rarity, these factors do not make them inexpensive plants to buy.

Cycads and Water Conservation:  Surprisingly and in general, cycads possess a great deal of drought tolerance and are an effective way to conserve water in the garden.  Yet, they still look so tropical.  People are amazed at how they make the garden look exotic (not like a desert garden) and use so little water.  So, especially in California, this is an ideal plant for people that want a lush garden but also want to not use much water.  

Cycad Spines and Toxicity:  Many cycad species have spines on the leaflets of leaf stems.  On some of these this is prominent, but never long narrow spines like you'd see on some palm trees or other plant types.  If you are working around them, eye protection is recommended.  Most cycad leaves and fruit are potentially toxic to humans and many animals.  Therefore, parts of the cycads should not be eaten.  



Dioon mejiae
Dioon mejiae
Encephalartos dyerianus
Encephalartos dyerianus
Zamia encephalartoides
Zamia encephalartoides
Encephalartos lehmannii
Encephalartos lehmannii
at nursery
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos horridus
Encephalartos gratus
Encephalartos gratus,
male cones
Cycas thouarsii
Cycas thouarsii
Cycas debaoensis
Cycas debaoensis,
close up leaves
Zamia skinneri
Zamia skinneri
Dioon merolae
Dioon merolae i
n habitat JO
Encephalartos transvenosus
Encephalartos transvenosus in habitat MR
Encephalartos princeps
 Encephalartos princeps in habitat MR








Nursery Location:

 450 Ocean View Ave., Encinitas, CA  92024

Nursery Phone:  619 291 4605
Nursery Hours:

 Monday - Saturday, 9AM - 4PM
 Sunday typically closed

Directions to Nursery: Freeway Close. Take Freeway 5 to Encinitas
(10 minutes south of Oceanside, 30 minutes north of San Diego). 
Exit Leucadia Blvd West (toward ocean).
Immediate left on Orpheus Ave, left on Union St,
Right on Ocean View Ave to Nursery, which is at 450 Ocean View Ave
Mailing Address:

3233 Brant Street, San Diego, CA 92103


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