The distribution of genetic diversity and structure for three populations of Dioon edule Lindley (Zamiaceae) at Monte Oscuro (MO), El Farallón (EF) and Rancho del Niño (RN) in Veracruz, Mexico was studied using 20 allozyme loci, considering four life history classes: seeds, seedlings, juveniles and adults. The MO population is genetically less diverse than the EF and RN populations. Total and local inbreeding differ significantly between life history classes. An increment of inbreeding among all classes was observed, and genetic differentiation among populations was higher in seeds and seedlings than in juveniles and adults. In terms of percentage of polymorphic loci, the MO seeds showed least (80%), followed by RN (95%) and EF had the highest values (100%), probably because of a reduction in effective population size and habitat fragmentation processes. In this context, the mean effective population size was 23.2 +/- 11.3 for all populations. We conclude that seed cohorts in EF and RN represent a reservoir of genetic diversity within these two populations. Also, preservation of adult plants is an essential aspect to consider in management and conservation efforts for populations of Dioon edule in natural conditions.