What do Belize and the Kingdom of Siam have in common?

The Cycad (Cycas siamensis) is a short plant that looks like a palm with a swollen base, short trunk and an attractive large crown with hard, stiff evergreen leaves. The Cycad is originally from Thailand, formerly the Kingdom of Siam, from where  its name is derived.

There are over 320 species of of Cucad and according to  the World Conservation Union’s Cycad Specialist Group more than half are endangered or threatened plant groups.

The Cycas siamensis grow in warm to tropical temperatures and are particularly adaptive to pot culture.  This plant is known to fix nitrogen in association with cyanobacteria from the roots.

A neurotoxin known as BBMA is produced by this blue-green algae and found in bats eating the seeds as well as humans who consume these bats.

See also: Belize Rainforest Trail

Photography by naturalist Guide Meshack Eliah.

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