These plant fossils come from the soils in which the Fossil Forest is preserved on Portland. Fern-like leaves once grew from the diamond-shaped scars on the trunk.
We have retained the name ‘cycad’ here because it is so popular and commonly used but strictly speaking they belong to a group known as the ‘Bennettitales’, which are a parallel branch to the cycads. Cycads and Bennettitales belong to the Gymnosperms which also includes conifer trees and the Ginkgo tree, which is another ‘classic’ living fossil that can be found in parks and gardens across the UK today.
Find out more on the wood and plants page.