These prehistoric plants are a common sight in the garden, and are considered among the most ancient and threatened botanic families. Often confused with ferns or palms (but not closely related to either), cycads are more closely related to coniferous trees such as firs or spruces.
Cycads were more numerous in the Jurassic period than they are today, and are commonly referred to as living fossils because of how little they have evolved since then. Today’s species are endangered by habitat destruction and poor or illegal collection practices. Our garden features Encephalartos spp., the Dioon edule, and the coontie (Zamia pumila), the only cycad native to Florida.