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Palms and Cycads: Cycas revoluta

Botanical name: Cycas revoluta

Common name: sago palm

also known as (king sago palm, Japanese sago palm)

Average rating: 4.0

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sago palm
Photo credit: chief cultivator
Palms and Cycads: Cycas revoluta
Palms and Cycads: Cycas revoluta
created by:
chief cultivator

Mercer island, Wa

at a glance

Soil: dry, neutral, sand
Zones: 8a thru 11a

drought tolerant

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description for "Palms and Cycads: Cycas revoluta"

The sago palm is a staple of landscaping, especially in the warmer parts of the world. While most people think it is a palm, it is actually a cycad, dating back to the age of the dinosaurs. Though beautiful, be weary when pruning, as there are small protective barbs or hooks that will prick you. It grows best in sandy, well-drained soil, preferably with some organic matter. It needs good drainage or it will rot. It is fairly drought-tolerant and grows well in full sun or outdoor shade, but needs bright light when grown indoors. The leaves can bleach somewhat if moved from indoors to full sun outdoors. Sago palm is extremely poisonous to both humans and animals if ingested. Pets are at particular risk since they seem to find the plant very palatable. --edited by dtd siegelgirl


Native to southern Japan. This very symmetrical plant supports a crown of shiny, dark green leaves on a thick shaggy trunk that is typically about 20 cm (7.9 in) in diameter, sometimes wider. The trunk is very low to subterranean in young plants, but lengthens above ground with age. It can grow into very old specimens with 6–7 m (over 20 feet) of trunk; however, the plant is very slow-growing and requires about 50–100 years to achieve this height. Trunks can branch multiple times, thus producing multiple heads of leaves. Propagation of Cycas revoluta is either by seed or by removal of basal offsets. As with other cycads, it is dioecious, with the males bearing cones and the females bearing groups of megasporophylls. Pollination can be done naturally by insects or artificially. [Source:]

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This is an excellent plant for Florida! Slow-growing in early years but grows at a faster rate when older. Eventually forms a large trunk, unlike most of the cycads we see here. Not a perfect plant, however, as it is prone to cycad scale, and it is difficult to prune due to barbs. Great tropical effect in the garden, though. <br/> <br/> <br/> <br/>