Cycadée house (with titanium root)

Palm ferns and other treasures: The Cycad House

The cycad house contains several biologically important groups of plants that are regularly shown in various botanical courses, first and foremost the palm ferns (cycads). Like the conifers and the ginkgo that we know better, they belong to the gymnosperms, the group of seed plants in which the ovules are "naked", i.e. not enclosed in carpels, and which dominated the Earth's Middle Ages before the development of modern, "cover-seeded" flowering plants. Palm ferns grow extremely slowly and it takes many years before they flower for the first time. The sexes are dioecious, so there are male and female plants.

On the table by the window we find an extensive collection of passion flowers. Of the approx. 450 known species of the predominantly tropical American genus, a respectable collection is in cultivation in Göttingen.


The Cycad House also houses some interesting tropical monocotyledons, such as palms, heliconias, cob palms (Cyclanthaceae), Dracaena and Cordyline species. If the monocotyledons that occur here and are hardy as garden plants present a rather uniform picture with their often grass-like narrow leaves, this is considerably extended by the tropical representatives: palms and cob palms have divided, pinnate or fingered leaves, and the yucca, dracaena and cordyline species belong to the small minority among the monocotyledons whose stems are capable of secondary thickness growth and can thus form "real trees".

Our small collection of the genus Ficus ("rubber trees", "figs"), which is widespread in the tropics of the Old and New World, is also interesting. Beyond the often beautiful leaf shapes, many Ficus species develop luxuriant hangings of aerial roots, which in some species can entangle and strangle their companion and supporting plants, so that such figs are called "strangler figs".

Continue to the Rainforest House