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Cycas debaoensis

Multipinnate Cycad

Discovered and described as recently as the late nineties, this extraordinary cycad is only known from a single small area in western Guangxi, China, where it grows in mixed evergreen and deciduous forest on steep limestone slopes. Like so many cycads, it is highly endangered through destruction of its habitat and the collection of its trunks for horticulture. While its trunk is short and subterranean and only about 20 cm (8 in.) in diameter, its four to ten bipinnate leaves are probably the most fantastic among the cycads and readily distinguish it, and the very similar Cycas multipinnata, within the entire genus. The leaves are deep green, glossy, and can reach an amazing 2.5 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft.) long. The 30 to 50 leaflets are around 55 cm (22 in.) long and branched into numerous "fingers," giving the leaf a very full and bushy appearance. This species is undoubtedly the most desirable in the genus and we believe this to be its very first general introduction into horticulture.
For a great picture and some background information, we recommend Ken Hill's "Cycad Pages".
Our seeds are individually tested and selected, ready to germinate, and should produce nearly 100% germination.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Put them in vermiculite in a reptile breeding stove at a constant 32 Celsius. 100% germination in about 2 months.
Submitted on 06/10/2010 by Ivo Leijen

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I scarified the seed coats of the seeds and then soaked them in warm water over night putting in smoke paper that is used for such needed seeds and then planted them. All but one of the 20 seeds germinated within 3 weeks but one. It was a week later that the 20th seed germinated making them ALL germinate within 30 days. I think that it was the smoke paper that did the magic for me.
Submitted on 14/10/2009 by rick peters

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
standard cycad germination set up - soaked the seeds for 4 days then placed them half way pressed into a 300 mm deep clear plastic container full of perlite complete with drainage holes and lid. watered daily, and left the lid on positioned in the sun. first germination with 3 days - 80% currently after 6 months. some are pushing up there second leaf, and i can see there roots growing along the bottom of the container - time to pot them up!
Submitted on 14/09/2008 by kurt

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
soaked the seeds for 3 days, then pressed them half way into a 300mm deep rectangle plastic container filled with perlite. container was put outside as to receive 5-6 hours of direct sun and watered every day. day temperatures were 30 degrees celsius, night time just over 20. germination started within the first week - 90% so after 4 weeks.
Submitted on 30/05/2008 by Bec

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
LESS THAN A MONTH!Clean seed arrived in very good condition. After a two-day warm soak in water, placed seeds in community pots in media of 3 parts perlite to 1 part store-bought seedling starter mix. Misted lightly, and covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Within 12 DAYS (yes... days) of receiving them, the seeds were starting to crack. I'm thrilled with the freshness and quality of seeds that RPS sells. At the same time, I bought C. panzhihuaensis and Y. rostrata. Also sprouting after 12 days. Excellent quality. Thank you Toby!
Submitted on 23/04/2008 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Germination technique like that for Cycas multipinnata: seeds were soaked in water for 24 h. A hole was cut in the outer seed coat to expose the point were the developing embryo would emerge. The seeds were placed horizontally in a shallow plastic tray (2 cm deep) which had been filled with perlite. The perlite was wet with water (to make it moist, not saturated). The tray was placed in a propagator that was heated to 25 degrees Celcius with the vents open. Shoots emerged from 60% of the seeds within 4 months. Like many cycad species, much of the first year of growth occurs underground. Seedlings should be potted up in perlite alone (addition of compost can cause water retention and root rotting - this applies to the 20+ varieties of cycad I have grown from seed bought from Rare Palm Seeds). Place individually potted seedlings on a south-facing window. I sowed the seed in January 2007 and now the seedlings are responding to the sunlight, some producing their first leaf. The leaflets fork in the second or third year of growth according to the experts, so do not be disappointed in the first year! Be patient and you will be rewarded with a very special and beautiful plant. Once again, the quality of seed supplied by Rare Palm Seeds was excellent.
Submitted on 23/04/2007 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
100 seeds from rarepalmseeds last winter. Soaked 3 days, placed on top of 10" of perilite with 1" of vermiculite on top for the moisture retention inside a 40 gallon cooler in the garage, seeds burried 1/3rd into the vermiculite and kept moist not wet. kept above 65 degrees (f) with days reaching 75-80. First germination within a week, Finished with close to 80 percent germination.Same results with Multipinnata........
Submitted on 07/01/2007 by Matthew Jerge Matt_jerge@hotmail.com

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
This cycad seed is quite easy to germinated but quite easy to rot because of its small size so if too much humidity then the seed will damage. Soak the seed in water for 2 days but only 12 hours each . Used sand and peat moss . Check the seed every weekend . First seed will germinate aroud 6 weeks later.
Submitted on 10/03/2006 by Jakkrit Jakkrit_Mn@yahoo.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy to germinate.Soaked 100 seeds in warm water for 2 days(changing water daily). Placed seeds in large clear plastic tub with lid filled with a perlite/vermiculite mixture. Misted with water to keep moist. Room temperture at 82 degrees. I had 25% germination in 4 days , 50% @ 2 weeks and 65%@ 3 weeks(present). I expect atleast 90% germination.
Submitted on 19/02/2006 by Steve Wheat sfw43@direcway.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Got 20 seeds and placed in ziplock with 75% perlite, 25% cocofibre.Kept at about 85 degrees. 18 have germinated within 1 month and 10 have sprouted.
Submitted on 16/02/2006 by Oliver Achleitner oliver@oamd.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seeds half buried on 3" of perlite in a large, covered, undrained tupperware. Perlite kept moist, but not so much that the seeds were in standing water. Bottom heat was provided with a heating pad, 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. So far have 50% germination after 2 months.
Submitted on 25/05/2005 by one of our visitors

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Johannesburg in South Africa they need little care and grow fast.
This is a no-nonsense plant. After an excellent 85% germination two years ago, I can now state without hesitation that this is probably one of the most tolerant, easiest and fastest growing cycads I've come across so far. I use a well draining substrate of 40% course river sand, 10% garden soil, 48% neutral pH compost and because the original habitat contains limestone, I added about 2% dolomitic lime. What impressed me most is the survival rate. Out of all the sprouts I planted, I haven't lost a single plant as yet! All seedlings were planted in 10 liter bags which I put under 40% shade net for the first year. Water them regularly especially during the first two months when the roots are still shallow. The growth rate of the first three leaves was pretty much on par with other cycas and encephalartos seedlings I had in the nursery at the time. BUT.. then they suddenly changed gear and made everything else look as if they're standing still. Most of them have a caudex of around 5cm with leaves close to 1 meter long. I live in a summer rainfall area which means I only water them when necessary in summer. In winter I just keep them damp by watering about once a month. In summer I fertilize them once a month with Nitrosol. Our summers are pretty hot and our winters can get quite chilly with occasional frost, but they seem to handle it. Just protect them against wind. Apart from it's beauty, I can recommend this plant. Even for the novice!
Submitted on 12/05/2010 by Willie Otto

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Zhanjiang Guangdong province in China they need little care and grow slow.
The Cycas debaoensis is originally grow in Guangxi province China where the weather is warm and wet. The temperture must above 10 celsius degree in winter and 25 degree celsius on average in summer. So if you are not in the right place a greenhouse is needed. You also have to water it properly and it's due to the soil you used. The best and cheapest soil you can get is mix peat with sand or just get some soil from river plate. Because Cycas debaoensis is calcidete you had detter add some limestone. The detail is(1 sand 2 peat or river plate soil 0. 1 broken Limestone or sea cell). If the mixture isn't soft enough add some humus. After you have this soil you can plant it in and water it in every two or three day. Remenber you needn't care it too much when you have planted it ,water it to the root and water again few days later when the soil is dry. If you are in the right place where the weather is suitable for it you can plant it in the garden even without water it. The last point is that Cycas debaoensis is very rare and endanger species so please don't buy any seed that comes from China.
Submitted on 01/05/2009 by Van Yibo

... are of excellent ornamental value
In San Diego in USA they need average care and grow slow.
Germinated seeds placed in 9" bands in mix of fine orchid bark, pumice, and palm soil mix in 1/1/.5 by volume. Fertilized regularly with a liquid 8-8-8 orchid mixture and growing at the expected rate for most Cycas species. Now almost 1 year, minimal loss to root rot (3 plants, 2 recovered after treatment) plants are on 3-4th leaves and .75" dia caudexes average currently. Grown outdoors in San Diego in 1/2-3/4 day full sun. Debaoensis, Dianensis, and currently Multipinnata treated the same with exact same results.
Submitted on 07/01/2007 by Matthew Jerge Matt_jerge@hotmail.com

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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