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Introduction: Geographic distribution of cycads

The Munich Botanic Garden’s cycad collection is unique in Europe in the size and age of its specimens. Some of our cycads are from the former Botanic Garden created 200 years ago near the present central railway station.

Cycads are an ancient group of plants: the oldest cycad fossils are more than 250 million years old. But „ancient“ doesn’t mean „primitive“; cycads have adapted perfectly to their present-day habitats.

Cycads are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical zones, though most of the individual species show very limited distributions. The highest diversity of cycads is found in southern Africa, Australia, and especially Central America.
Dry regions are the preferred habitat of cycads, but some species have adapted to humid tropical forests. One epiphytic species lives in the forest canopy, while another is found on the coast of Madagascar and uses the ocean currents to spread its seeds. Some cycads can survive in colder climates, like certain species of Encephalartos that will tolerate short periods of frost or snow.

Audio file download
Introduction: Geographic distribution of cycads (MP3, 498 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Andreas Gröger, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg

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