In September 2016, the gr 3 classes from Bishops visited Kirstenbosch to ride the Boomslang and see the Dinosaurs. Gogo cycad imparted her ancient wisdom explaining how cycads were able to survive the onslaught of the dinosaurs.
The children learnt that life is a battle for any organism and that only the individuals that are strong enough to survive are the ones that can produce babies and thus the next generation. The plants that inhabited the earth at the same time as the dinosaurs had to be tough to survive .Their stems are thick and tall and the leaves have spines like barbed wire to make it difficult for herbivores to eat them.
They were amazed to learn from Gogo Cycad that cycads have an arsenal of chemical weapons at their disposal to protect themselves. Most parts of the plant are highly toxic and can cause cancer. Scientists now know that it is ancient cyano-bacteria living in the roots of cycads that are able to trap nitrogen gas from the air and incorporate it into chemicals that the cycad itself cant make.
The plant may look ancient but it certainly has modern ways of protecting itself!
Plants are sneakier than they look.
The question is, will plants like cycads who have survived more or less unchanged for 300 million years be able to survive the onslaught of human beings????