DR NEIL OVERY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR NEIL OVERY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cycad cones. Cones of the Eastern Cape giant cycad or bread tree (Encephalartos altensteinii), family Zamiaceae. The giant cycad is widely distributed in coastal regions of the Eastern Cape (South Africa ). Present day cycads are survivors of a group dating back 300 million years. Most families died out during the Cretaceous period, 80 million years ago. Cycads are of great evolutionary interest due to their reproductive system, considered to be the forerunner of flowering plants. The cones are the reproductive structures and can be male or female, producing seeds to form new plants. Photographed in Cape Town, South Africa.
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