Pregnant Cycads on Main Campus

By Maha Khalil 

cc1.jpgThere was an intimate relationship in full swing in the Science Garden near the end of last spring semester, and hardly anyone knew about it!     

    picture3.png Last spring, Dr. Moshira Hassan and her Diversity of Life students undertook the task of pollinating the cycad trees around Main Campus. The male cones of these decorative trees were carefully removed and then gently patted over the female cones to dust them with pollen. Under the care of the summer sun, the female eggs were fertilized and the cones are now filled with roundish orange-red seeds. If you come to visit our pregnant cycads, you will find the beautiful female cones nestled in the center of their green crowns and you could also see the seeds. 

picture2.pngCycads are often confused with palm trees, which they are not. While palm trees are flowering plants, cycads are gymnosperms which produce “naked” seeds or seeds not enclosed inside an ovary. Gymnosperms also include ginkgos, gnetophytes and the famous conifers. Cycads are widely grown for decorating gardens in many parts  of the world.

  Source:

– Starr, Cecile and Taggart, Ralph (2004). The Unity and Diversity of Life: Protistans. (10th edition). Australia, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Singapore, Thompson Brroks/Cole.

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