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King Sago Palm

  • Common Name: King Sago Palm (other common names: Sago Palm, Sago Cycas, Sotetsu, Japanese Sago Palm)
  • Scientific Name: Cycas revoluta
  • Family Name: Cycadaceae
  • Origin: Southern Japan
  • Height: 3’ – 10’ (up to 15’)
  • Width: 4’ – 8’
  • Growth: Slow
  • Zone: 8B - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun or partial shade (exhibits larger leaves in more shaded situations)
  • Salt Tolerance:  poor
  • Soil/PH/Texture: mildly acidic (pH 6.1 – 6.5)
  • Soil Moisture: Mesic – Dry Mesic – Dry, Keep the soil moist throughout spring and summer and cut back watering in the winter, allow to dry out between watering.
  • Drought Tolerance: high and humidity tolerant
  • Pests/Diseases: In Florida, one of the greatest damaging agents to this species is the cycad aulacaspis scale (Aulacaspis yasumatsui) and Leaf-spotting diseases. Micronutrient deficiencies, including manganese, can severely discolor and deform the foliage.
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance
  • Characteristics: Leaves are pinnately compound, 4’ to 5’ long, and up to 9” wide. The dark-green, stiff leaflets have a linear shape with a shiny upper surface, approximately 4” long, have revolute or curled under margins, and an acuminate or pointed tip. The trunk of the sago palm is dark brown, thick, and appears shaggy. Plants are either male or female, reproductive structures are found in the center of the plant, male organ resembles a large yellow cone that reaches lengths of up to2’, female organ resembles a yellow furry globe, and it houses many bright orange seeds that are 2” in diameter.
  • Propagation: by dividing rhizomes, tubers, bulbs, corms, or offsets and from seed
  • Wildlife: unknown
  • Facts: Cycas came from the Greek name cyca, which has the meaning, "palm." Cycas are gymnosperms and, although palm-like, they are not related to true palms/angiosperms (flowering plants), the Latin word revolut, stands for "rolled back." referring to the leaflets of the sago palm, that curl under. Sago is used as a food source in Asia, particularly in New Guinea. Most sago is commercially extracted from a type of palm, Metroxylon sagu, which is sometimes called “true sago palm” to distinguish it from this cycad species. Historically, the inner bark of the sago palm was used as a food source in Japan during times of famine. However, sago palm contains a powerful neurotoxin that can cause paralysis or even death if it is not prepared properly. The seeds can also be poisonous to humans and animals if ingested, it contains a strong neurotoxin that can paralyze or even kill animals or humans who ingest it.
  • Designer Considerations: use as an indoor or outdoor plant, makes a great walkway border, accompaniment to other palms and thick grasses, accent plant, street tree, xeriscaping, or as a container plant for a patio or deck.

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King Sago Palm