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Cycads (house 9)

This part of the glasshouse complex that is home to our collection of cycads has changed very little since its inception.

The lowered path leading through a grotto-like opening at the back is lined with Cycads, the ancient, primordial seed plants, thriving in their large containers.

One can rightly call Cycads living fossils. Their German name “Palmfarne” (lit. “palm ferns”), however, is quite misleading. They are neither ferns nor palm trees, which they sometimes only resemble in growing, habit and leaf shape. They are, moreover, a group of plants distantly related to coniferous shrubs and trees. They are, however, easily distinguished by their huge palm-like fronds.

Overgrown rock with a passage
Plants still grow here in the darkest place.

Cycad fossil records date as far back as the Carboniferous period. During the Cretaceous period, over 65 million years ago, this group of plants was very common and diverse. Today, the remaining 10 genera with approx. 100 species are only found in the tropics and sub-tropics of both hemispheres. Our collection in Munich with approx. 30 species includes some very old plants and could be considered almost unique.

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