Sunday, 2 September 2012

Cycads and more botanical revolutions I've missed...

Lake Natron Cycad, near Loliondo. Cycads look rather
palm-like, but are not true flowing plants at all.
Back in April I headed to Loliondo for a few days with a bunch of guides from Thompson Safaris. Along the long and bumpy route I was really pleased to spot some Cycads and jumped out to take a few photos. Spotted in action, I was forced to explain why I was taking pictures of some random tree. My answer at the time was based mainly on the evolutionary history of plants that I'd been taught at school and then probably on into university: Cycads form a remarkably early split from the branching evolutionary tree of seed-bearing plants, their ancestors somehow linking ferns to the much more modern flowering plants.  I was also keen to see this particular species (according to the IUCN commonly known as the Lake Natron Cycad) because it's one more of those remarkably restricted range species that fascinate me.

Now I have a confession to make - once again I was completely wrong!