King Sago Palm : Overview

King Sago Palm

An adult king sago palm.

The greenhouse of UVM is home to many exotic species. Among these is a small, palm-like tree that has existed since the time of the dinosaurs. Cycas revoluta, or the king sago palm, is one of the most well-known members of the Cycadaceae family. Grown around the world, this ancient plant is loved for its ability to withstand more temperate climates despite its tropical appearance, allowing people in more temperate zones to have their own “palm tree”. However, despite its resemblance, the king sago palm is actually not a true palm tree, but a cycad. Cycads make up an order of about 300 species native to warmer climates of the world such as Africa, Latin America, and Australia. Like most cycads, it is an ancient species of tree, having existed since the time of the dinosaurs. Also, like all cycads, it is a highly toxic plant. However, it has been used for decades as a common source of food, having helped many in times of famine. Doubling as both a life-giving and life-taking plant makes the king sago palm a very peculiar species of tree.