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Sago Palm Cycas revoluta

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Sago Palm:

Previously known as:

  • Cycas inermis
  • Cycas miquelii
  • Epicycas miquelii
Phonetic Spelling
SY-kas reh-vol-OO-tah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Sago Palm is a member of an ancient plant family known as Cycadaceae, dating back 200 million years ago. It is a tropical and sub-tropical showy evergreen that is related to conifers but looks more like a palm. The Sago Palm is very slow-growing and may take up to 50 or more years to reach 10 feet tall. It is frequently cultivated as a houseplant. The leaves grow from the trunk. They are shiny, palm-like, and have spiny tips and the margins of the leaves roll downward.

Sago Palm and Emperor Sago are closely related. Sago Palm has a leaf span of about 6 feet and brown stem color; whereas Emperor Sago has a leaf span of 10 feet with stems that are reddish-brown and leaflet margins are flat. It is also thought to be slightly more cold weather tolerant.  Both of these plants are dioecious which means there must be a male and female plant to reproduce. They reproduce by using exposed seeds (gymnosperm), much like pines and fir trees. Both plants have a palm-like appearance, but they are not true palms. They do not flower, but they produce cones much like conifers. 

The plant is native to the Japanese Island of Kyusha, the Ryukyu Islands, ad southern China. They are found in thickets along hillsides.

The genus name, Cycas, is derived from the Greek word, "kykas," thought to be a transcription error for the word "koikas," meaning Palm tree." The species name, revoluta, means "rolled back or curled back" and refers to the plant's leaves.

Sago Plant requires very little maintenance and prefers bright, but indirect sun. Harsh sunlight can damage the foliage. If the plant is grown indoors, filtered sunlight for 4-6 hours per day is recommended. The soil should be moist and well-drained. They are intolerant to overwatering or poor drainage. They are drought tolerant when established. Sandy, loamy soils with a pH acid to neutral are recommended. They can tolerate brief periods of cold, but frost will damage the foliage. The Sago Plant will not survive if the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suckers are produced at the base of the evergreen. The plant may be propagated by seeds or suckers. Pruning may be done to remove dead fronds. 

It will take years for the trunk of Sago Palm to grow from a 1-inch diameter to a 12-inch diameter. This evergreen can range in size from 3-10 feet and 3-10 feet wide. Indoor plants are smaller. Because of their slow growth, they are popular as bonsai plants. The leaves are deep green, stiff, arranged in a rosette, and are supported by a short stalk. The leaves may be 20-60 inches long. Each leaf is divided into many 3 to 6 inch needle-like leaflets.  There must be a male and female plant to produce seeds. The seeds are pollinated by insects or the wind. The male produces an erect golden pineapple-shaped cone. The female plant has a golden feathered flower head and forms a thickly packed seedhead. The seeds are orange to red in color. Pollination occurs from April to June. The seeds mature from September to October. 

Sago Palm is an easy houseplant to maintain. They are elegant grown in containers or urns for use on patios, sunrooms, or entrances to homes. They are beautiful evergreens for use in subtropical or tropical home landscapes as borders, accents, specimens, or in rock gardens.

Caution: All parts of the Sago Palm are toxic to humans and pets if ingested. The plant contains a toxin known as cycasin, and the seeds contain the highest levels. Cycasin can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, weakness, liver failure, and cirrhosis if ingested. Pets may exhibit symptoms of nosebleeds, bruising, and blood in stools after ingestion. Ingestion of any portion of this plant may cause permanent internal damage or death.

Disease, Pests, and Other Problems:

There are no serious insects or disease concerns. Scale, mealybugs, and spider mites can occur. 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Coastal Rain Garden Coastal Entryway Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#drought tolerant#cones#slow growing#fronds#dioecious#non-flowering#fantz#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#cold intolerant#poisonous if ingested
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#drought tolerant#cones#slow growing#fronds#dioecious#non-flowering#fantz#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#cold intolerant#poisonous if ingested
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cycas
    Species:
    revoluta
    Family:
    Cycadaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan (Kyushu) to Nansei-shoto
    Distribution:
    Native: Japan and Nansei-Shoto; Introduced: Alabama and Bangladesh
    Wildlife Value:
    Pollinated by insects.
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Edibility:
    The pith contains edible starch that can be processed for making sago. The starch has to be carefully washed to remove the toxins that are in the pith.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a, 12b, 12a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    There must be a male and female plant to produce seeds. Pollination occurs by insects or the wind. The male plant produces a pineapple-shaped cone that may grow up to 2 feet tall. The female plant produces a large golden rounded cone. If pollination is successful, the female will produce a packed seedhead. Pollination occurs from April to June. The seeds mature from September to October.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are pinnate or feather-like and glossy green. The leaves maybe 3 to 7 feet long and 10 inches wide, depending on the age of the plant. The fronds grow in a circular pattern that creates a rosette pattern. Each leaf has a midrib and divides into many 3 to 6-inch leaflets that are narrow, leathery, and have spiny tipped ends. The leaflets have revolute or curled back edges.
  • Bark:
    Surface/Attachment:
    Shaggy
    Bark Description:
    The trunk of the plant is thick and shaggy in appearance and resembles a palm tree. It is rough, symmetrical, and leafless except at the crown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are dark brown in color.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Salt
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Ingestion of any part of this plant may cause permanent internal damage or death. Symptoms of poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, and liver failure. Pets are attracted to this plant. Pet symptoms of poisoning include nosebleeds, bruising, and blood in stools.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    All parts of this plant contain the toxin cycasin, but the seeds have the highest concentration.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds