This page is dedicated to the beauty and diversity of Cycad cones. Cycads are gymnosperms which puts them in the same plant group which includes pine trees. All cycads are dioeceous, which means plants are either male of female, unlike many flowering plants which have booth sex parts on the same flower. They have an ancient lineage, showing up in the fossil record about 350 million years ago.
Cycads can have tremendous foliage variation within a individual species. As with many plants, there can be "juvenile foliage" and "mature foliage", which look totally different from each other. In many cases one must wait for the individual plant to produce a cone to verify the species. Hybridization between species of the same genus is quite easy, which leads to more confusion. Photos of cones from habitat are the most accurate for identification. Unfortunately many species of cycads are almost extinct in the wild. Field documentation is incomplete for many species.
Cycad cones can vary in size from 1-2 inches to 30"plus in size. Female cones can contain several hundred seeds weighing over 75 pounds! Most female cones are wider and rounder than their male counterpart which is narrower and more elongated.
It is believed most pollination is done by insects, such as small beetles. This page is a tribute to the beauty of cycad cones. Future pages will deal with the pollination of cycad cones and seed production.