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 Simply looking at a cycad can take you back in time. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2022 As dinosaurs lumbered through the humid cycad forests of ancient South America 180 million years ago, primeval lizards scurried, unnoticed, beneath their feet. Kurt Schwenk, The Conversation, 16 June 2021 Our journey of Lake Turkana National Parks continued by soaring over ancient cycad forests on Kenya's Northern Frontier District and touched down on the lip of the Silale Crater in Kenya's Pokot Land. Liz Cantrell, Travel + Leisure, 31 May 2021 Grown both as a houseplant and an outdoor plant, this cycad is popular for exotic, palm-like fronds. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 22 Mar. 2021 Guam’s coconut rhinoceros beetles have started burrowing into cycad trees. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harpers Magazine, 5 Jan. 2021 The forests were lush and green, filled with shrubby cycads and fan-leafed ginkgos. Jess Romeo, Popular Science, 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, 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, 11 Aug. 2019 See More

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.

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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Cite this Entry

“Cycad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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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

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