Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A 300-Million-Year Old Twosome: The Cycad And Its Pollinator

Date:
August 6, 1998
Source:
New York Botanical Garden
Summary:
Living fossils of the plant world, the cycads can trace their lineage back to about 300 million years ago. In a world without flowers, forests of these palm-like plants were the main feature of the dinosaurs' landscape.

Living fossils of the plant world, the cycads can trace their lineage back to about 300 million years ago. In a world without flowers, forests of these palm-like plants were the main feature of the dinosaurs' landscape. Today the cycads (http://www.nybg.org/events/prel_landsc.html) are mere vestiges of their glorious past: an estimated 19 genera are known only as fossils and of the 11 living genera, most are on the verge of extinction because of loss of habitat, slow growth, and infrequent reproduction. In a joint project with Fairchild Tropical Garden, Dr. Dennis Wm. Stevenson, Director of the Harding & Lieberman Laboratories at The New York Botanical Garden and the world's leading expert on cycads, is studying their pollination biology. His work confirmed that cycads are pollinated by specific species of weevils (http://www.nybg.org/events/prel_weevil.html)and beetles and unravelled the symbiosis -- mutually beneficial relationship of two dissimilar organisms living together -- between plants and pollinators, demonstrating that the cycads' survival is contingent upon the preservation of their ecosystem. Pollination -- the transfer of the sperm-cell-loaded pollen from the male structure to the female structure for germination -- involves separate male and female cycad plants with reproductive structures called cones produced when both plants reach maturity. The pollen-laden male cone differs in shape, size, and color from the female cone. Dr. Stevenson's study of Zamia furfuracea (http://www.nybg.org/events/prel_2.html,) Zamia pumila, and Dioon califanoi showed that each cycad genus has its own genus of pollinators and each cycad species has its own species of pollinators. He uncovered a fascinating tale of plant/animal interdepedence where each participant follows a precise sequence of events and plays a specific role in order to ensure the propagation of both species. In this quid pro quo relationship, the insects perform the pollination and the cycads in turn offer the insects food, shelter, a breeding site, and larvae protection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York Botanical Garden. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York Botanical Garden. "A 300-Million-Year Old Twosome: The Cycad And Its Pollinator." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980806084750.htm>.
New York Botanical Garden. (1998, August 6). A 300-Million-Year Old Twosome: The Cycad And Its Pollinator. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980806084750.htm
New York Botanical Garden. "A 300-Million-Year Old Twosome: The Cycad And Its Pollinator." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980806084750.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins