Climate Change Brings Prehistoric Plant From 60 Million Years Ago Back to Life

The Cycad is an ancient plant that hasn’t grown in the United Kingdom for a long time, and it originated in Japan 60 million years ago. But because of climate change, the Cycads have gone extinct in the UK, until now when botanists have managed to grow them outdoors.

Ventnor Botanic Gardens is located in the Isle of Wight and they managed to produce a male cone of Cycads way back in 2012. Last year a big event happened, and a female cone appeared so the botanists were able to pollinate and grow seeds.
It looks like the climate on the Isle of Wight favors the plants, as it is a few degrees warmer there than in the rest of the UK and a place where this prehistoric plant can flourish.
But this discovery also raised warning signs about climate change, as a few years ago it was impossible for scientists to imagine the Cycad growing and surviving there.

These changes result in more exotic plants that can be planted in Europe under the new climate conditions but also makes you wonder which will be the plants that won’t survive the impact of the everchanging weather.

 

“This presents us with an exciting opportunity to transfer pollen and generate seeds for the first time in the UK for 60 million years,” said Liz Walker from Ventnor Botanic Garden.

“This can be seen as further evidence from the plant kingdom of climate change in action. Certainly this sort of plant could formerly not be considered hardy in the UK; the recent heatwave has contributed to the individual cone growth,” said Ms Walker.

Shortly following this unique event, we now have signs of a female cone appearing on one of our other Cycas revoluta Cycads. This is the first female cone out of doors in the UK, and the first time we, or anyone else, has had both male and female cones – let alone at the same time. This presents us with an exciting opportunity to transfer pollen and generate seeds for the first time in the UK for 60 million years. – Ventnor Botanic Garden.

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