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Dioon spinulosum
Photo: Gilles Murray

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Description

These plants had their heyday back in the times of the dinosaurs, some 150 million years ago. Although they resemble palm trees, they are actually related to conifers, in that they produce cones where the sexual cells form. The plants are either male or female, so it takes one plant of each sex to produce viable seeds. This is a problem for the many cycads on the Red List of endangered species (IUCN). Their popularity with collectors and landscape gardeners, in particular, has caused their populations to decline.

Cycads comprise three plant families and include the genera Cycas, Zamia, Encephalartos and Dioon, all of which can be seen in the Hacienda and Arid Regions Greenhouse.

Where and when

Arid Regions Greenhouse, Hacienda: year round.

Based on articles by Céline Arseneault and by Denis Barabé published in Quatre-Temps magazine.

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