SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cycas
COMMON NAME(S): Sago palms
FAMILY: CYCADACEAE - Sago family
ORIGIN: Asia, Africa, Australia, 15-25 spp.
HABITAT: Subtropical and tropical landscapes, greenhouses, houseplants
HEIGHT: Variable, most commonly 4-10'
CHARACTERISTICS: Dark, thick, fibrous trunk formed on old plants
LEAVES: Alternate, large, feather-like, sometimes spiny on leaflets or leaf stems
FLOWERS: Cones, male and female on separate plants
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring, summer
FRUITS: None, seeds with fleshy coat borne at margins of leaf-like structures
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Azoxyglycosides
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Respiratory
COMMENTS: The male cones of these primitive plants emit an odor that irritates the respiratory tract of sensitive individuals. The seeds and stems also contain powerful carcinogenic compounds. Nonetheless, the stems have been used as a source of starch for centuries. Cycas revoluta Thunb., the King sago and C. circinalis L., The Queen sago, are widely cultivated in subtropical and tropical climates.