Dino Food

Dinosaurs are extinct, but did you know that a part of the dinosaur food chain is still around?  

Think Cycads.

Image courtesy of Col, Jeananda. Enchanted Learning. http://www.EnchantedLearning.com 1999  

Image courtesy of Col, Jeananda. Enchanted Learning. http://www.EnchantedLearning.com 1999

 

These are prehistoric plants that are still alive today, practically unchanged in the last 200 million years or so. They are thought to have been present in the Mesozoic era; from the Triassic period, through the Jurassic period and up to the Cretaceous period. Thus, they were the dominant plants during the age of dinosaurs and are thought to have been the main food source of herbivorous dinosaurs. Please note however that most of the cycad species alive today are poisonous. Cycads are hardy plants since they survived the ice age, that big asteroid from outer space which wiped out the dinosaurs, the big flood during Noah's time, Hitler and Michael Jackson.

Cycads are classified as gymnosperms or cone-bearing plants.  They are also described as dioecious, meaning they have male and female plants.  Yes, you read that right. So in order to propagate them through seeds you must have female and male plants.

There are many species of cycads.  The plant shown below is just one of them and it's my very own.

Encephalartos ferox

The E. ferox is named so because its rigid and serrated leaves are ferocious. It can be a substitute for barb wires. E. ferox is native to Mozambique and South Africa. 

In the Philippines, there are currently 10 identified species of cycads all in the genus cycas. There are probably more that are undescribed. Palawan is home to four species namely Cycas saxatilis, Cycas currannii, Cycas wadei and Cycas aenigma. C. aenigma was so named because the plant samples that were described were all grown in cultivation. C. Aenigma was never found in its natural habitat. Until this day the enigma has not been solved. The most recently described Philippine species is Cycas zambalensis which only grows in two separate areas in Zambales.

Cycads are slow growing and can live for hundreds of years and can probably survive another ice age.