I realised when using my first book “Identification of indigenous cycads of South Africa,“ that it was still proving to be problematic to correctly identify cycads as a result of natural and unnatural cross-pollination. Plants growing in unnatural conditions would also, on occasion, present different typical characteristics, which made accurate identification difficult.
If a cycad is not planted in its natural growing habitat the appearance of the leaf will present different characteristics as the norm. Even when using the key, the identification of seedlings still proved to be problematic in some of the species.
Climate will have an influence on the pollination of female cones, and on the pollen shedding of male cones.
I believe that using the cones, when present, will overcome these difficulties regarding identification. I trust that you will find this book as useful as I have in identifying indigenous cycads correctly.