November's Plant of the Month
Cycas rumphii (Queen Sago)Family: Cycadaceae
Origin: Malaysia to New Guinea
Location: tropical glasshouse
The Queen Sago plant is a gymnosperm, a species of cycad in the genus Cycas native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Christmas Island. It has a male and female form, ours being female with the visible large seeds in the crown. Although palm-like in appearance, it is not a palm. It is a food plant: the trunk of the cycad contains a starchy pith from which sago can be prepared by drying, grinding and washing. In hard times the toxic seeds can be treated to become edible by pounding, repeated washing, and cooking. Although it is abundant in some areas, it is classified as Near Threatened owing to habitat loss.