Cycas vs Pinus (Differences)

Differences between Cycas and Pinus

Comparison between living organisms is very important in order to apply the concept to practical knowledge. Undeniably, Gymnosperms represent a very important category of plants. These are specialized seed plants whose seeds are particularly naked i.e. their ovules are not enclosed inside the ovary of the carpel, rather these ovules occur on specialized modified leaves called sporophylls. Furthermore, Gymnosperms do not produce fruits. Gymnosperms are majorly represented by 88 genera and more than about 1000 species. These species belong to about 14 families.  Although both Cycas and Pinusare Gymnosperms, on comparing we can find numerous differences between Cycas and Pinus.  So, let’s dive into the journey of differences with MBD.

Differences between Cycas and Pinus

Differences between Cycas and Pinus


Talking about the genus Pinus (commonly referred to as pines), it is the most well-representing genera of the family Pinaceae. Talking about the house address of this genus Pinus, it is not restricted to any one place. It is commonly found in northern Europe, Myanmar, Pakistan, North and Central America, Philippines, sub-tropics of America, hilly regions of India etc. Moreover, the genus is particularly monoecious, the leaves are needle-like, leaves are produced in a cluster of two to five. Another key point is the presence of taproots that are seen to be associated with ectomycorrhizal fungi and the wood is particularly pycnoxylic.

Summing up, examples of some Indian species of Pinus: P. armandii, P. bhutanica, P. kesiya etc.


This plant has particularly palm-tree like or more of a tree-fern like looks. This is particularly due to the thick unbranched stem (pillar-like) that has a huge cluster of pinnately compound leaves. Surprisingly ‘Sago Palm’ is often mistaken to be a palm based on the name, actually is Cycas revoluta (this is based on the morphological similarity of Cycas with palm trees. Some of the key features of the genus Cycas includes, leaf segment particularly remains circinate bent (rolled) within the bud, the ovules are ascending, the pinnae have central midrib while no lateral veins, the megasporophyll bears two or more ovules on its lower margins and the megasporophylls are not organized into cones.

Summing up, examples of some Indian Cycas species: C. circinalis, C. rumphii, C. pectinata, C. beddomei etc. 

Cycas vs Pinus:

Although both of them are gymnosperms, there is a huge difference between them which are summarized as following:

Differences w.r.t vegetative characters

  1. Sporophyte: Cycas Appears similar to a small palm-like tree. Pinus It is tall and branched in appearance.
  2. Roots: CycasNormal and coralloid roots are present. PinusTaproots and mycorrhizal roots are present.
  3. Stem: CycasIt is columnar and branched. Persistent leaf bases are present. PinusThe stem is cylindrical and branched. Types of shoots- dwarf and long.
  4. Leaves: CycasThey are pinnately compound with circinate vernation while in the case of Pinus they are needle-like and does not exhibit circinate vernation.
  5. Resin Ducts: Cycas-Absent. PinusPresent.
  6. Mucilage ducts: CycasMucilage is present in mesophyll tissue. Pinus – absent. 
  7. Root Vasculature: CycasDiarch to tetrarch. PinusDiarch to hexarch.
  8. Secondary Growth: Cycas-Primary cambium is short-lived. Successive cambial rings form concentric zones of the xylem. PinusPersistent primary cambium. Cambium keeps on producing a continuous cylinder of secondary xylem.
  9. Annual Rings: CycasAnnual Rings are absent whereas in Pinusthey are present.
  10. Mesophyll Tissue: CycasDistinct layers of Palisade and Spongy parenchyma whereas in PinusDistinct layers of Palisade and Spongy are absent.
  11. Transfusion tissue: CycasWell-developed. Pinus Less developed.

Differences w.r.t reproduction

  1. Vegetative reproduction: Cycas has a vegetative reproduction mode via Bulbils, however in Pinus it is absent. 
  2. Sexuality of plant: CycasDioecious with unisexual cones. PinusMonoecious with unisexual cones.
  3. Male cones: CycasLarge and terminal in position. PinusSmall and grouped in clustered.
  4. Microsporophyll: CycasTriangular woody structure having several microsporangia. PinusScaly structure bearing only two microsporangia.
  5. Microspores: CycasBoat shaped, not winged. PinusInitially spherical and later become winged.
  6. Female cone: CycasHas a whorl of loosely arranged megasporophylls. PinusIt is arranged as an inflorescence.
  7. Ovule: CycasIt is sessile or sub sessile whereas in the case of Pinus, it is strictly sessile in nature.
  8. Micropyle: CycasIt is present on the tip of the sporophyte. PinusIt is presented on the base of scale.
  9. Micropylar tube: CycasPresent. PinusAbsent.
  10. Male gametes: CycasMotile male gametes are seen whereas in Pinus they are non-motile.
  11. Pollen tube: CycasIt functions as haustorium. PinusIt functions as a sperm carrier.
  12. Female gametophyte: CycasHas 3-6 archegonia whereas Pinus bears only 1-2 archegonia.
  13. Pro-embryo: CycasNo distinct tiers. PinusFour distinct tiers.
  14. Embryo: CycasOnly one embryo is formed. PinusFour embryos are formed but only one matures.
  15. Cleavage embryony: CycasAbsent. PinusPresent. 
  16. Seed: CycasTwo cotyledons, Perisperm absent, non-winged. PinusNumerous cotyledons, Perisperm present, winged.


In conclusion, if you get a question in the exam for differences between Cycas and Pinus? YOU CAN TRUST US! 

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