Cycads are a group of cone-bearing plants that were some of the earliest seed plants on earth.
They were very common during the Jurassic Period, more than 150 million years ago, and reached their greatest diversity at that time. Today there are just over 350 species of cycads worldwide, many of which are critically endangered due to habitat loss and illegal plant collecting.
Some cycads look similar to palms, while others resemble ferns. But they are not closely related to either of these plant groups. In fact, confusing a cycad with a palm is like thinking a bat is a kind of bird. Cycads, palms, and ferns are from very different divisions of plants.
Cycads reproduce with seeds borne in cones. Palms are flowering plants that reproduce with seeds borne in fruits. Ferns reproduce with spores released from leaves called fronds.