Jurassic Plants: A Garden Inspired by Dinosaurs

Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to live with the Dinosaurs? (my 3 year old considers this often).

With the help of Jurassic Plants Nursery you can take some inspiration for a Jurassic garden and plant some Cycads.  They are a fascinating bunch:

blue cycads jurassic plants

“Cycads are commonly mistaken for ferns, palms or bamboo but they are actually conifers, bearing conspicuous naked cones.  Comprising only 11 genera (Bowenia, Ceratozamia, Chigua, Cycas, Dioon, Encephalartos, Lepidozamia, Macrozamia, Microcycas, Stangeria and Zamia) and approximately 300 species, they are the rarest plants on Earth.  Cycads display a remarkable diversity.  Leaf size ranges from 8 inches in the diminutive Zamia pygmaea, to 23 feet in the gigantic Encephalartos laurentianus.  Leaflet colour varies from yellow-green, lime green, dark green, purple-green, to silver and even blue.  There are cycads with  arborescent (tree-like) trunks, and cycads with subterranean trunks.  Longevity and growth rate also varies by species; Zamias can mature and reach coning age in only three to five years, while other, larger species such as the Dioons can take decades to cone and may live to be 1,000 years old.”


Cycads were a large part of the flora in the Jurassic period.   While, along with the dinosaurs, many species disappeared, some still exist.   Now they are referred to as living fossils, because they have remained virtually unchanged, and give us a glimpse into a long-distant past.

zamia by by tanetahi

Zamia furfuracea image by tanetahi

encephalartosvillosus jurassic plant

cycad cycas bellafonti

My Favorite of the bunch are plants often referred to as ZZ’s – They are beautifully glaucus, dark green, impossible to kill and perfect indoors or as a central piece of an outdoor seasonal container. Do you have a favorite Jurassic Plant? Have you grown any cycads?

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. louise garwood on September 14, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Have you taken a trip to the UMASS Amherst biology greenhouses?
    They have several species of Cycad- also check out the Durfee Conservatory and Garden as well while on campus-and see one of the largest gingkos in the state.

    While you are in the area there are the My Holyoke greenhouses They have a great tropical house and terrific orchid collection/ and adjacent gardens partly designed by
    Julie Moir Messervy http://www.juliemoirmesservy.com/
    and the Smith College Conservatory

  2. janet on September 14, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Oh, I have a couple of ZZ’s in my house – I had no idea that they had so much history behind them! I love them because they are super low maintenance. Unfortunately, they’re often mistaken for permanent botanicals because they are so shiny and perfectly shaped!

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