The cells of the wall of the sporangium are usually so constructed as to determine the dehiscence of the sporangium and the liberation of its spores.
We cannot as yet say whether these bodies represent a somewhat unusual type of fern sporangium or whether they are microsporangia: if the latter supposition is correct the plant must have been heterosporous; but we are still without evidence on this point.
In structure a cycadean sporangium recalls those of certain ferns (Marattiaceae, Osmundaceae and Schizaeaceae), but in the development of the spores there are certain peculiarities not met with among the Vascular Cryptogams. With the exception of Cycas, the female flowers are also in the form of cones, bearing numerous carpellary scales.
From each locule of a plurilocular sporangium there is set free an oosphere, which, being furnished with a pair of cilia, swarms for a time.
The sporangium is of considerable size, and dehisces by a median slit, the annulus being a more or less definitely limited horizontal ring of cells near the apex.
The cones, which in some instances at least were heterosporous, presented a general resemblance to those of Lycopodium and Selaginella, a single sporangium being situated on the upper surface of each sporophyll.
The careful study of the development of the synangium of Tmesipteris, which consists of two loculi, and of Psilotum, which consists of three, has shown that their structure can be explained as originating by the septation of a single sporangium resembling that of Lycopodium.
In another Pecopteroid genus, Sturiella, the synangia resemble those of Asterotheca, but each sporangium is provided with a band of enlarged cells of the nature of an annulus (fig.
Each sporangium had, on one side only, a longitudinal or slightly oblique annulus, several cells in width; the numerous spores were all of the same size; certain differences among them, which have been interpreted as indicating heterospory, have now proved to depend merely on the state of preservation.
The sporangia of the Psilotaceae are associated in synangia, which occupy the same position relatively to the sporophyll, as the single sporangium of Lycopodium or the group of sporangia in Spenophyllum majus.