Palms and cycads are truly beautiful plants that enhance any landscape with their tropical appearance.
Palms are a large and diverse family (Palmae or Arecaceae) of flowering plants that may include as many as 2600 species. Most palms are recognized by their large evergreen leaves arranged at the top of a single stem and by their large seeds and fruits, such as dates and coconuts.
Cycads are an ancient group of cone-producing plants made up of three families (Cycadaceae, Stangeriaceae and Zamiaceae). Cycads have no flowers or fruits, and male and female reproductive parts occur on separate plants (i.e., dioecious), plants reproduce by seeds produced in cones on female plants. Cycads are often referred to as ‘living fossils’ because they have existed for over 200 million years – even before the dinosaurs!
Palms and cycads are very versatile in the landscape. Some types of palms have a single trunk and can be used as solitary specimen plants while others are clumping and are used in groups. Grouping together palms of the same species or with plants other than palms makes an interesting tropical landscape. Multi-trunk palms make excellent specimen or accent plants.
Cycads can also make wonderful specimen plants or can be used along with palms or many other plants to create a tropical landscape.