"A small cycad which in nature develops a slender trunk to about 15 cm tall and 12 cm across. Young leaves hairy. Mature leaves five to twenty in a crown, 1-1.5 m long, dark green, smooth, glabrous; petiole 20-30 cm long, woolly at the base, armed with prickles; leaflets twenty to fifty on each leaf, 7-22 cm × 1-5 cm, lanceolate, spreading to recurved, clustered along the rhachis in groups of three, thin-textured, somewhat papery, light green above, silvery beneath, flat, apex acute. Male cones 18-25 cm × 2-3 cm, cylindrical, yellowish brown; sporophylls with two horns to 3 mm long; peduncle to 3.5cm long, slightly woolly. Female cones 10-14 cm × 3-5 cm, nearly cylindrical, olive green; sporophylls with two large horns, separated by a prominent oval ridge; peduncle to 9 cm long. Seeds 1.8-2 cm × 1.5 cm, ovoid, smooth.
"It ... can be distinguished by its thin-textured, somewhat papery leaflets which are arranged in clusters along the rhachis. ... [I]n some plants of this species, occasional leaves have a normal, non-clustered arrangement of leaflets, and rarely some plants of C. latifolia may produce an occasional leaf which has clustered leaflets. Additionally some leaves may be devoid of prickles while others are densely prickly even on the same plant." (Jones 1993).
Mexico: San Luis Potosí and Querétaro at 900-1200 m altitude. It is known from only two localities, in deciduous cloud forests dominated by Quercus. These locales have been raided by collectors and the species may now be extinct in the wild (Jones 1993).
Seattle's Volunteer Park Conservatory has one.
"[F]irst collected in the 1950s by a commercial collector, Luciano Guerra, and named after his daughter [Hilda]" (Jones 1993). Now, it is listed as threatened by the Mexican government (NOM-ECOL-059-94).
"[U]ncommon in cultivation but grows readily in sheltered conditions and germinates readily from seed. Grows well and quickly reaches adult size taking about five years under ideal conditions to produce cones. Some growers advocate slightly alkaline soils for its culture. Makes an attractive subject for containers" (Jones 1993).
Last Modified 2017-12-29