Cycad facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsCycadophyta
|Cycas circinalis with old and new male cones.|
Cycadaceae Cycas family
They were very common in the Mesozoic era, the age of the dinosaurs, and are still living, but are now much less common. Only 9 genera (including 100 species) of cycads are found to be extant nowadays. Cycads are thought to have evolved from order Pteridospermae (seed ferns) of angiosperms, now totally extinct.
Cycads are gymnosperms (naked seeded). Their unfertilized seeds are open to the air to be directly fertilized by pollination. This contrasts with angiosperms, which have enclosed seeds and more complex fertilization arrangements. Cycads have very specialized pollinators, usually a specific species of beetle.
These photosynthetic cyanobacteria produce a neurotoxin called BMAA that is found in the seeds of cycads. This neurotoxin may enter a human food chain if the cycad seeds are eaten, and may cause some neurological diseases.
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Cycad Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.