Rainforest Plants – Sago Palm

Family: Cycad

Genus: Cycas

Species: revolute

shared names: King sago palm, sago palm

General Description: Sago palm is one of the most obtainable and economical supplies of food starch in the world. An international conference recently suggested the possibility of the Sago as an option for worldwide consumption as food supplies decrease. It is very slow growing; the young plant is two to three feet tall and, outside of its native home may be found in the ground or in a pot on a patio. Since it needs sun, it does not grow well away from a window inside a building. In the tropics, the Sago Palm is found in lowland forests and freshwater swamps. It is versatile and can grow in a variety of soils.

Due to Sago palm’s popularity in the past half-century, this feather leaf palm is found from coast lines to landscapes around the world. It is over 300 years old and can grow to 10-12 feet tall with dignified umbrella crowns.

Location: Sago palm is native to the tropics from Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, to Japan.

Uses: Sago is a starch ground into a powder. The trunk is divided open after the tree is cut; the pith is crushed and kneaded, which releases starch. The material is then washed and strained to extract the starch, which is put into a container for local use or export. The Sago Palm is a major important food for New Guinea and the Moluccas. It is often cooked and pressed into a pancake and served with fish. Sago looks like tapioca; each resembles pearly grains of starch, but they come from different supplies. Tapioca is made from the root of the cassava plant, and Sago starch comes from the palm.

Sago Palms have erect, strong trunks that grow wider as the plant matures. The diameter can be as great as two feet, and sometimes wider. Some very old Sagos characterize twenty feet of trunk.

Sagos typically grow cones during spring or summer. Usually a new set of leaves appears at the same time. Seeds develop slowly in addition. Suckers often grow from the base, with several stems clumping together after some time.

Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Any reference to medicinal use is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

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