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Cycadaceae Pers., 1807, nom. cons.
the sago palm family
The name of the type genus (in fact the only genus in the family) is Cycas, derived from the Greek κοιξ, κοικος (koix, koikos), their name for the palm Hyphaene thebaica. The word was also used for a palm basket. Cycadaceae usually have thick, pithy stems that rarely branch, although they may offset at the base. These trunks are sometimes almost entirely subterranean. Much of the structural support is provided by woody leaf bases that persist around the stem. The alternate pinnately-compound leaves emerge from the apical bud, with leaflets tightly coiled inwards. The plants are dioecious, producing male cones and female ovules on separate plants. The female plants do not produce cones like other cycads, but produce their ovules on the lower surfaces of modified leaves arranged in 2 or 3 whorls at the stem apex. Most species are tropical, and require heat to grow well.
Cycas revoluta - sago palm
Photograph © Donald Simpson 2011
Page last updated 10th January 2016