Cycad Sex


You don’t even have to work to make botany interesting.  This just in:

University of Utah scientists discovered a strange method of reproduction in primitive plants named cycads: The plants heat up and emit a toxic odor to drive pollen-covered insects out of male cycad cones, and then use a milder odor to draw the bugs into female cones so the plants are pollinated.

The story from Science Daily goes on to say:

Terry showed that one species of thrips — Cycadothrips chadwicki — pollinates the Macrozamia lucida cycads.In the new study, she discovered the hot, smelly details of how that happens.

"These cycads heat up, and associated with that heating is a huge
increase in volatile fragrances emitted by the cone," Terry says. "It
takes your breath away. It’s a harsh, overwhelming odor like nothing
you ever smelled before."

"Think of a guy with too much after shave," Roemer says.

Well.  It’s clearly not "smelly" to a certain Cycadothrips chadwicki we know.


  1. that is pretty interesting, i have a sago palm (same as in the picture) and it does smell wierd sometimes, i never really thought about why. and when the cone is spent and flops over and needs to be removed, man it reeks. i though at the time maybe i was smelling a dead snake or bird of some sort (both have been known to nest in mine) but it smelled horribly two years in a row so it must be the palm

Comments are closed.