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Cycas revoluta - Thunb.

Common Name Japanese Sago Palm, Sago palm, King Sago Palm
Family Cycadaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards The plants contain alkaloids of carcinogens and also an amino-acid that causes chronic nervous disorders[200]. Regular consumption of the plant leads to severe health problems and death. This toxic principle can be removed if the food is properly prepared but consumption of the plant still cannot be recommended because its use often means the death of the plant and it is becoming rare in the wild.
Habitats Found mainly on the sea shore in S. Japan[58]. Thickets on hillsides on islands, sparse forests on mainland at elevations of 100 - 500 metres in Fujian, China[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cycas revoluta Japanese Sago Palm, Sago palm, King Sago Palm

Cycas revoluta Japanese Sago Palm, Sago palm, King Sago Palm


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Form: Palm.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Cycas revoluta is an evergreen Tree growing to 3.5 m (11ft) by 3.5 m (11ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Insects, wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed  Stem
Edible Uses:

Seed - raw or cooked[2, 46, 177]. They can be dried and ground into a powder then mixed with brown rice and fermented into 'date miso' or 'sotetsu miso'[183]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The heart or pith of the trunk is sliced and eaten baked or powdered. A toxic principal must first be removed[183]. A starch can be extracted from this pith and is used for making dumplings[183]. It is very sustaining[2, 177].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent  Cancer  Diuretic  Emmenagogue  Expectorant  Tonic

The leaves are used in the treatment of cancer and hepatoma[218]. The terminal shoot is astringent and diuretic[218]. The seed is emmenagogue, expectorant and tonic[218]. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism[218]. Substances extracted from the seeds are used to inhibit the growth of malignant tumours[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Seashore, Specimen. Requires a strong loam with sharp sand and good drainage[164]. Succeeds in dry soils. Requires a sunny position[188]. Although it is the hardiest cycad, this species is not fully hardy in Britain but can tolerate occasional lows to about -5°c so long as the crown is protected[200, 260] and so is worthwhile trying outdoors in a sheltered position in the mildest areas of the country[166]. Alternatively, it can be given greenhouse or conservatory protection over the winter and be placed outdoors in the summer[1]. Plants are very slow growing[188, 260]. This plant is often used as a food source in its native range but recent research has shown that it can cause chronic nervous disorders if it is not treated properly[200]. Overall its use is not to be recommended, especially since it is becoming rare in the wild. The plants produce special upward growing roots where nitrogen is produced in symbiosis with algae[200]. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, There are no flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe, 2cm deep in individual pots which are then sealed in plastic bags to keep them moist until germination takes place. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 25°c[164]. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water then treat as above. Division of suckers in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Cycas circinalisSago Palm, Queen sago, Fern Palm, Queen Sago PalmShrub3.5 10-11 SMHNDM21 
Cycas spp.Cycas, Sago PalmPerennial4.0 8-12 SLMHFSNDMW224
Microcycas calocomaPalma corchoPerennial10.0 10-12 SLMHFSNM003

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Mike.   Tue Jul 18 2006

Dear Sir, I grow C.Revoluta in my garden and it's frost hardy. Winter 2005 saw tempratures down to minus 10c and C.Revoluta came through it all well. Mike.

Mikes Exotics and Hardy Plants A weblog for growers of exotic plants and hardy, exotic looking plants.

RAJKUMAR   Sun Feb 11 2007



Morne Fouche   Mon Jan 8 2007

Blue Forest Specie listing of all africa cycads

Ashraf Al Shafaki   Thu Mar 6 2008

Cycas is a very expensive plant. One of the reasons for its high price could be its slow growth rate. Price depends on stem height. In Egypt, 25 cm tall costs $120, 50 cm tall for $200, 1 m tall for $750, 1.5 m tall for $1200. From the above prices, you can see how expensive cycus is. I wonder how prices might vary in other countries.

حلم المزرعة This is my Arabic blog about growing plants.

MD. ZAVED KAWSER   Wed May 7 2008

I am pleased to inform you that, we have a Cycad-Cycas Revolta "Sago Plam" plant at our residential garden in West Bengal, India from last Seven years. The same plant has been produced a lot of buds from her storm every year but presently she has been produced thousand nos of fruits/seeds from the middle of the storm. The size of the fruits/seeds are small oval type ball/tumer, before one week colour of the same was cream but now it converted to light green. We were surprised for the same and discussed with a Prof. of Botany, Dr. Ambarish Mukherjee of Burdwan University, West Bengal, India who has been researched with the cycas revolta "Sago Palm" plants. We came to know from Dr. Ambarish Mukherjee that, the case is very rare and it is the first time in his life to seen. He also said that, it is very usefull for the research for the medicine of the Cancer (Comotheropy) because the presence of comoros into the fruits/seeds. Now, we are very much interested to know the details of the same and uses & preservation of the fruits/seeds and also the value of the Fruits/Seeds. If any person will be interested for the research with the same then, we will sale/donate the fruits/seeds of the plant. My contact details are mentioned below: MD. ZAVE KAWSER, Sr.Engineer (O & M), Powerlinks Transmission Limited, C/o: Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd., Vidyut Nagar, Satellite Township, Siliguri-734015, Dist.: Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, India. E-mail id: [email protected] Contact No: +91-9474517440. Thanks/Regards, Zaved Kawser.

Nursery of the Cycad Cycas revolta Fruits/Seeds of the Cycad-Cycas Revolta "Sago Palm" Plant

   Sun Oct 5 2008

bahut bekar hai tumhaari report

Steve Field   Mon Jan 5 2009

My Cycas seems to be 'dying', the leaves have browned, new shoots recently grew then once opened also browned and shrivelled. Can i cut all the shoots/leaves back and 'start again' or am i going to do more harm than good. I believe the plant is not that old and only stands about 1 metre high. Any advise that i can get would be gratefully received. [IMG]http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/muppetnyr/notyetsorted038.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/muppetnyr/notyetsorted039.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee263/muppetnyr/notyetsorted040.jpg[/IMG] Any advice can be sent to [email protected]

Edmund   Sun Jun 7 2009

Wow, these are beautiful plants, but my neighbor claims it could poison his dog. He said his og goes into my yard and it could get poisoned just by eating the leaves? What can I do about this situation? Are they really that poisonous?

david   Sun Jun 7 2009

They are potentially fatal to humans and pets, from what I can gather elsewhere on the net it is the seeds that are the most poisonous part and they are appealing to pets, but the leaves also have some poison see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycas_revoluta

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