Cycadophytes and Gingkos Facts



  • Cycadophytes and gingkophytes were the first seed plants to appear on land. The cycads and gingkos of today are their direct descendants.
  • Like conifers, cycads and gingkos are gymnosperms. This means their seeds do not develop inside a fruit like those of flowering plants or angiosperms.
  • Cycads are mostly short, stubby, palm-like trees. Some are hundreds of thousands of years old.
  • Cycads first grew on earth over 225 million years ago. They probably provided an important source of food for some dinosaurs.
  • Cycads have fern-like leaves growing in a circle round the end of the stem. New leaves sprout each year and last for several years.
  • The gingko is a tall tree that comes from China.
  • The gingko is the only living gingkophyte.
  • The gingko is the world’s oldest living seed-plant.
  • Fossil leaves identical to today’s gingko have been found all over the world in rocks formed in the Jurassic period, 208-144 million years ago.
  • Scientifically, the gingko is called Gingko Biloba. II is also called the maidenhair tree.
  • All today’s gingkos may be descended from trees first cultivated in Chinese temple gardens 3000 years ago.