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Cycas circinalis with old and new male cones.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Cycadophyta
Class: Cycadopsida
Order: Cycadales

Cycadaceae cycas family
Stangeriaceae stangeria family
Zamiaceae zamia family

Leaves and cone of Encephalartos sclavoi
Pinnate divided leaves of a cycad, with new growth in the centre in the form of a bud
The fossil Cycad Zamites feneonis

Cycads are seed plants whose fossils are first found in the early Permian period.[source?]

They were very common in the Mesozoic era, the age of the dinosaurs, and are still living, but are now much less common.

They are different from most plants because they have large crowns of compound leaves and a stout trunk. They are evergreen, dioecious plants having large pinnately compound leaves.[1]

They are frequently confused with and mistaken for palms or ferns, but are only distantly related to both, and instead belong to the division Cycadophyta.


  1. Pinnate: feather-like or multi-divided features arising from both sides of a common axis.