cy·​cad | \ ˈsī-kəd How to pronounce cycad (audio) \

Definition of cycad

: any of an order (Cycadales) of dioecious cycadophytes that flourished especially during the Jurassic and are represented by four surviving families of palmlike tropical plants

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A cycad is a tropical palmlike evergreen plant. Cycads flourished especially during the Jurassic and are represented by four surviving families. Cycads have crowns of large, feathery compound leaves and cones at the ends of their branches. Some have tall, unbranched trunks; others have partially buried stems with swollen trunks. Slow-growing cycads are used as ornamental conservatory plants, but some survive outdoors in temperate regions. The stems of some cycads yield starch that is edible if thoroughly cooked. The young leaves and seeds of others also are edible.

Examples of cycad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The forests were lush and green, filled with shrubby cycads and fan-leafed ginkgos. Jess Romeo, Popular Science, "To remain hidden, these beetles sparkle like jewels," 15 Nov. 2019 Start in the ancient forest (which despite its name, debuted in 2015) where a carpet-quiet path winds past cycads, some of the oldest plants on the planet, and redwood trees. Los Angeles Times, "Serenity, now: Where to find a quiet spot amid the bustle of L.A.," 20 Sep. 2019 Throughout Palomar there are plantings of hardwoods, succulents, proteas, cycads, pollinator plants, rosebushes, palms, bamboos and legumes. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Palomar College’s arboretum to reopen with access-for-all trails in September," 11 Aug. 2019 Before the pond was drained, the koi, which numbered only 20 by the fall of 2017, were transferred to a small water feature in the cycad garden. Emily Young, Los Angeles Times, "Beloved Japanese garden reopens at Lotusland in Montecito — but good luck getting in," 26 July 2019 However, all cycads contain at least three toxins affecting animals, including people. Kenneth Setzer, miamiherald, "Some of South Florida's most popular plants may be toxic to pets," 14 June 2018 Some plants, such as cycads in the Ancient Forest, remained relatively unscathed thanks to their naturally waxy surface, while other flowers’ dark pigmentation provided protection from the sun. Sara Cardine,, "Acres of historic camellias at Descanso Gardens scorched during weekend’s triple-digit heat," 12 July 2018 This year, there are staples like firebush, rare natives like pearlberry, and rather hard-to-find cycads like Encephalartoshildebrandtii. Kenneth Setzer, miamiherald, "This tree has huge leaves and clusters of coral flowers and likes Miami’s weather | Miami Herald," 6 Apr. 2018 Check sagos for white cycad scale; control as needed with a natural oil spray. Tom Maccubbin,, "April in the garden," 31 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cycad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cycad

1845, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cycad

New Latin Cycad-, Cycas, genus name, from Greek kykas, manuscript variant of koïkas, accusative plural of koïx, a kind of palm

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Time Traveler for cycad

Time Traveler

The first known use of cycad was in 1845

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Cite this Entry

“Cycad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for cycad


cy·​cad | \ ˈsī-kəd How to pronounce cycad (audio) \

Kids Definition of cycad

: a tropical plant like a palm but related to the conifers

More from Merriam-Webster on cycad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cycad Encyclopedia article about cycad

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