Saturday, May 24, 2008

Baby Sago Leaves

At my previous residence, we had a large Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) that regularly produced pups. My husband always removed them, and I would occasionally plant them in pots. Some would take, but more just dried up. When we moved, one of the potted pups came along, and it is now five years old. A few times a year it puts out spikes, which slowly uncoil into individual leaflets that form a new set of leaves in the center of the plant. I love watching them uncoil. The whole process takes a couple of months.

Sago Palms are slow growing and don’t bloom for at least a decade. My large palm was 11 years old when it bloomed, and that’s when I learned it was a male. The male and female palms have different inflorescences. The male inflorescence looks like a pineapple or a large pinecone, and the female inflorescence is a globular group of strange looking scaly leaves covering large orange seeds. The seeds are poisonous to animals and humans.

The Sago Palm, recommended for USDA Zones 8-11, can’t take our intense summers, so it should be located in partial shade in Phoenix. The Sago Palm is good as a houseplant. It is extensively used as a Bonsai subject because of its lengthy lifespan.


Julie said...

We have sago palm here...they are very pretty...I consider them to be very fine and fancy palms...they just look so pristine...not shabby like our cabbage palms!!!

Sue said...

Interesting. At the stage shown in your photo, the Sago Palm reminds me of several types of large fern found here in the mountains. They unfurl in much the same way (although much more quickly).