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Conditions for Growth
These cycads grow quite well at the Grove in Riverside, CA, planted between rows of palms, slightly sheltered from the searing sun and with plenty of water and heat. Their native environment in Madagascar and east coast of Africa is hot, humid - a tropical to subtropical climate where the Cycas thouarsii grows in river deltas, and along the coast in woodland areas with ample rain fall. This species will not tolerate cold temperatures or winter frost well.
Growth Rate and Size
A relatively fast-growing cycad that can expand to large proportions in its native environment, with a trunk reaching 30 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter. Even so, cycads are slow growers, and a plant might take several generations to reach such heights. In Riverside, CA, the Cycas thouarsii specimens are much faster growers that, say, the Cycas revoluta, and might achieve a 3-4 foot trunk over a 20 years span.
Large cycad with erect trunk with moderately spaced green to almost matte green leaflets, soft and leathery to touch, linear-lanceolate in shape, prominent yellow-green midrib, flat, smooth margins free of spines or a sharp apex. Cross section of leaf is relatively flat, as opposed to V in shape. Leaflets are long compared to C. revoluta at around 5 near apex to 12 inches, inserted in rhachis at 90 degrees near middle to 60 degrees near top.