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 Grown both as a houseplant and an outdoor plant, this cycad is popular for exotic, palm-like fronds. Steve Bender, Southern Living, "Six Deadly Plants for Dogs and Cats," 22 Mar. 2021 Guam’s coconut rhinoceros beetles have started burrowing into cycad trees. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harpers Magazine, "Findings," 5 Jan. 2021 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

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

Statistics for cycad

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cycad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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