—cycadlike, adj./suy"kad/, n.any gymnospermous plant of the order Cycadales, intermediate in appearance between ferns and the palms, many species having a thick, unbranched, columnar trunk bearing a crown of large, leathery, pinnate leaves.[1835-45; < NL Cycad- (s. of Cycas) genus name < Gk kýkas, misspelling of kóïkas, acc. pl. of KÓÏX kind of palm]
* * *Any of the palmlike woody plants that constitute the order Cycadales, containing four families: Cycadaceae, Zamiaceae, Stangeriaceae, and Boweniaceae.Cycads have crowns of large, feathery compound leaves and cones at the ends of their branches. Some have tall, unbranched, armourlike trunks; others have partially buried stems with swollen trunks. Slow-growing cycads are used as ornamental conservatory plants, but some survive outdoors in temperate regions. The stems of some cycads yield starch that is edible if thoroughly cooked. The young leaves and seeds of others also are edible.
* * *▪ plant orderany of the palmlike, woody plants that constitute the order Cycadales. The order consists of two families, Cycadaceae and Zamiaceae, which contain 10–11 genera and 305 species. Some authorities use the term cycad to refer to all members of the division Cycadophyta (cycadophyte). Plants of this division are known to have existed in the Mesozoic Period, about 250 to 145 million years ago. Only the order Cycadales contains living species.Cycads are distinguished by crowns of large, pinnately compound leaves and by cones borne at the ends of the branches. Some cycads have tall, unbranched trunks with an armourlike appearance; others have partially buried stems with swollen (tuberous) trunks. The stem has a large pith surrounded by a narrow zone of soft, woody tissue. Male cones produce pollen that is carried by wind to female cones (borne on separate plants), where fertilization occurs.Slow-growing cycads are used as ornamental conservatory plants, but some survive outdoors in temperate regions (see Cycas). Starch from the stems of some cycads is edible after an alkaloid is removed by thorough cooking. The young leaves and seeds of other species also are edible.The desirability of cycads as specimen and ornamental plants in gardens and greenhouses has led to the overharvesting of many species from the wild. As a result, some species are nearly extinct in nature, and a number are critically endangered. Most cycads are protected by conservation laws in their native countries. International trade in cycads is controlled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
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