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Janice Williamson, Herman van der Bank, Ronny Kabongo and Michelle van der Bank – Veld & Flora, Vol 102 (2) – The cycad fossil record dates back to the early Permian (280 million years ago) and possibly the Carboniferous (320 million years ago) making them the world’s oldest extant seed plants.

Cycads flourished during the Mesozoic – the age of the dinosaurs – but, unlike the dinosaurs, have survived three mass extinction events in Earth’s history. The devastating loss of cycads, a tragedy largely unnoticed, is very similar to that of the rhino poaching crisis. Cycads are classified as the world’s most threatened plant group. Cycad artist Douglas Goode stated in 1989: “cycads could be referred to as the rhino horn of the plant kingdom”.PDF download of scanned article – 201606 Veld and Flora 102_2

Permission to republish this article with kind permission from The Botanical Society of South Africa, Veld & Flora