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Cycads: Plants from ancient times

The cycads are a group of plants that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. Remains of their frond-like leaves have been found as fossils dating from the Permian, a geological era from more than 250 million years ago.

Cycads are archaic gymnosperms, meaning they are distantly related to modern coniferous trees. They are popularly known as palm ferns, which is utterly misleading, as they are related neither to palm trees nor to ferns.

Flowering plants, which today comprise most of the earth’s plant species, did not develop until tens of millions of years later. The oldest examples of flowering plants, known from fossil records, date from the Cretaceous period, some 130 million years ago.



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Cycads: Plants from ancient times (MP3, 373 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Andreas Gröger, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg