Cycad cones

Cycad cones

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Credit: PETER CHADWICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cycad cones (Encephalartos sp.). Five female cones (yellow) surrounded by a crown of leaves. Cycads are primitive, cone-bearing, woody plants that have changed very little over the last 300 million years. They are often confused with palms, but are unrelated. Cycads are dioecious, each plant either being male or female. Both sexes produce cones, which are an aggregation of modified leaves. Male cones bear pollen, while female cones contain ovaries. Once pollinated, the female cones expand dramatically in size and any fertilised ovaries produce large seeds. Photographed in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

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Keywords: african, ancient, biological, biology, botanical, botany, cone, cones, cycad, dehiscence, dehiscent, dioecious, encephalartos sp., female, flora, frond, gymnosperm, kwazulu natal, leaves, nature, ovaries, ovary, plant, primitive, reproduction, reproductive, seed, seeds, sexual reproduction, south africa, sporophyll, strobilus

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