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Leaves and male cone of Cycas revoluta
Scientific classification


Cycas platyphylla in North Queensland with new fronds, in the rainy season.

Cycas is a genus of plants. It is the only living genus remaining in the Cycadaceae family. Cycads were common plants when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, but are rare today.

Over 100 species are known. Probably the best-known of these is Cycas revoluta, the Sago Palm. The generic name comes from Greek kykas and means "palm tree". The plant is not a true palm, however.

Cycas is native to the Old World; most species are around the equatorial regions. It is native to eastern and southeastern Asia including the Philippines with 6 species (4 of which are endemic), eastern Africa (including Madagascar), northern Australia, Polynesia, and Micronesia. Australia has 26 species, while the Indo-Chinese area has about 30. The northernmost species (C. revoluta) is found at 31°N in southern Japan. The southernmost (C. megacarpa) is found at 26°S in southeast Queensland, Australia.

The plants have often been considered to be a living fossil. The earliest fossils of the genus Cycas appear in the Cainozoic, but Cycas-like fossils occur well into the Mesozoic. Phylogenetic studies have shown that Cycadaceae is the sister-group to all other living cycads.

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