It’s 200 million years ago, the climate is turning from dry to humid, the great landmasses of Laurasia and Gondwana are forming, this is the Age of Reptiles, large herbivorous dinosaurs and the first birds. The humid conditions allow the development of lush jungles – Conifers dominate with Ginkgos, Dicksonian tree ferns and the beautiful Cycads.
Cycads belong to a plant group almost unchanged since that Age of the Dinosaurs. They make striking focal plants.
They are much sought after and, as a result, many are virtually extinct in the wild.
Only one clump of Encephalartos woodii has ever been found in the wild, in 1895. Although it is now extinct in the wild, it exists in cultivation.
To see cycads planted en masse is a striking sight.
Male and female cycads are distinguished by the size and shape of their cones. Male cycads have cones which are smaller and narrower than the female, which produce masses of pollen carried to the female by certain insects. The female cones, which produce ovules, eventually fall apart releasing the seed. These are female cones below.
For those of us in cooler climates, the conservatories of many Botanic Gardens provide the lush tropical atmosphere to display cycads.
A walk through the enveloping lush greenness is a great way to stimulate a child’s imagination about the Jurassic Age.
(All photography mine; feel free to use any of Jardin’s images but please credit and link back)