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

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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

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 During her lifetime, Walska was more famous for running through six husbands than for creating dramatic displays of aloes, bromeliads, cycads, cactuses, epiphyllums, succulents, ferns and more in themed landscapes. Emily Young,, "Celebrating the elusive Lotusland, among the world's most beautiful gardens," 29 Mar. 2018 Sago palms, also known as cycads, cardboard palms, fern palms and coontie plants, hail from tropical and subtropical areas but have become popular ornamental plants in the United States in the past 10 to 20 years. Kim Campbell Thornton, sacbee, "Sago palms pose serious risks to pets – here are key things to know | The Sacramento Bee," 14 Mar. 2018 The Olson-Binder garden in Poway features cycads, rare ferns and orchids. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Spring garden tour returns to Rancho Bernardo, Poway," 7 Mar. 2018 But of South Africa’s 38 cycad species, 25 are threatened with extinction. The Economist, "The loneliest plant on earth," 19 Oct. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cycad

Dictionary Entries near cycad








Statistics for cycad

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cycad

The first known use of cycad was in 1845

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on cycad

What made you want to look up cycad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!