It is of course a Dioon spinulosum, a type of cycad from Mexico. The key to a successful blog is knowing your audience... Here it is in mid-June growing next to a dustbin full of bird seed. The trunk (known as a caudex) is about 30cm from the soil to the tip of the growing point, and the pot is about 40cm across. I bought it cheaply on Ebay of all places, from a nursery in Spain, and it arrived in terrible condition in early March. However under my expert care it has slowly been recovering, and as you can see from the pointy bit in the middle has been gradually planning something....
As you can imagine, I was delighted when three days after this photo I saw this:
This charts a mere 17 days from the first visible sign of leaves to yesterday, when the tallest leaf now reaches my nose! The nice weather has seen the greenhouse hit 30 degrees pretty regularly, and I sure this has contributed to the breakneck speed. I reckon it has a little way to go yet whilst the leaves harden up, but the difference is astounding. I've gone from a boring pineapple-lookalike to a magnificent firework of bright green. The leaves will darken over time to a glossy olive green, unyielding and spiky. Happily for the family it will have to come indoors over winter as this is not a cold-tolerant species and a few days of minus temperatures could see those lovely leaves turn brown and collapse. Nobody wants that...
As I am sure you can tell from the photos I have a lot of plants like this, and thus lots of growth sequences. We had all better hope that I see some birds soon.