Cycads and palms look alike in many respects, but are not closely related. Their physical resemblance caused early botanical confusion about their relationship. This confusion led Victorian era collectors to create cycad and palm gardens similar to the one displayed here. These plants are also represented in the Garden’s geographic collections.
Cycads, members of an ancient group of plants that include conifers (e.g. pine trees), reproduce through male and female cones. Palms, which evolved later, reproduce through flowers. Both groups produce pollen that is carried by insects. Both have fleshy fruits that attract birds and animals, aiding in seed dispersal.
Palms and cycads are found in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world. This collection includes palms and cycads from warm temperate zones.
The plants in this garden demonstrate the wide variety of species that can be successfully cultivated in this climate.