Both were in turn replaced by the Lower Mesozoic flora, which again is thought to have had its birth in the hypothetical Gondwana land, and in which Gymnosperms played the leading part formerly taken by vascular Cryptogams. The abundance of Cycadean plants is one of its most striking features.
The line of descent of recent cycads is comparatively clear in so far as they have undoubted affinity with Palaeozoic plants which combined cycadean and filicinean features; but opinion is much more divided as to the nature of the phylum from which the conifers are derived.
A feature of interest in connexion with the phylogeny of cycads is the presence of long hairs clothing the scale-leaves, and forming a cap on the summit of the stem-apex or attached to the bases of petioles; on some fossil cycadean plants these outgrowths have the form of scales, and are identical in structure with the ramenta (paleae) of the majority of ferns.
In structure a cycadean sporangium recalls those of certain ferns (Marattiaceae, Osmundaceae and Schizaeaceae), but in the development of the spores there are certain peculiarities not met with among the Vascular Cryptogams. With the exception of Cycas, the female flowers are also in the form of cones, bearing numerous carpellary scales.
It is interesting that no monstrous cycadean cone has been described in which ovuliferous and staminate appendages are borne on the same axis: in the Bennettitales (see Palaeobotany: Mesozoic) flowers were produced bearing on the same axis both androecium and gynoecium.
Before following the growth of the pollen-grain after pollination, we will briefly describe the structure of a cycadean ovule.
A thorough examination of cycadean seeds has recently been made by Miss Stopes, more particularly with a view to a comparison of their vascular supply with that in Palaeozoic gymnospermous seeds (Flora, 1904).
Brongniart, who was the first to investigate in detail the anatomy of a cycadean stem, recognized an agreement, as regards the secondary wood, with Dicotyledons and Gymnosperms, rather than with MonocoFIG.8.
Short and reticulately-pitted tracheal cells, similar to tracheids, often occur in the circummedullary region of cycadean stems. In an old stem of Cycas, Encephalartos or Macrozamia the secondary wood consists of several rather unevenly concentric zones, while in some other genera it forms a continuous mass as in conifers and normal dicotyledons.
9) afford a characteristic cycadean feature.
The vascular system of cycadean seedlings presents some features worthy of note; centripetal xylem occurs in the cotyledonary bundles associated with transfusion-tracheids.
After fertilization the ovum-nucleus divides and cell-formation proceeds rapidly, especially in the lower part of the ovum, in which the cotyledon and axis of the embryo are differentiated; the long, tangled suspensor of the cycadean embryo is not found in Ginkgo.
A papery remnant of nucellus lines the inner face of the woody shell, and, as in cycadean seeds, the apical portion is readily separated as a cap covering the summit of the endosperm.
(After the xylem recalls the Fujii.) cycadean type.
From an evolutionary point of view, it is of interest to note the occurrence of filicinean and cycadean characters in the maidenhair tree.
The vascular bundle entering the stern from a leaf with a single vein passes by a more or less direct course into the central cylinder of the stem, and does not assume the girdle-like form characteristic of the cycadean leaf-trace.
It has been suggested that transfusion-tracheids represent, in part at least, the centripetal xylem, which forms a distinctive feature of cycadean leaf-bundles; these short tracheids form conspicuous groups laterally attached to the veins in Cunninghamia, abundantly represented in a similar position in the leaves of Sequoia, and scattered through the so-called pericycle in Pinus, Picea, &c. It is of interest to note the occurrence of precisely similar elements in the mesophyll of Lepidodendron leaves.
(1897); Lang, " Studies in the Development and Morphology of Cycadean Sporangia, No.