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Publication #FPS161

Cycas circinalis Queen Sago1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

The palm-like Queen Sago has a short, dark brown, unbranching trunk topped with graceful, arching, medium green, feathery leaves, six to eight feet long (Fig. 1). Although slow-growing, Queen Sago is much prized for its light-textured tropical effect and easy care and makes an excellent lawn specimen or container plant for large areas. It is usually located as a specimen where it can be viewed from all sides but could be mass planted on 8 to 19 foot centers on a large scale industrial or commercial landscape. Many people plant it too close to a building, window or walkway and, unfortunately,need to remove leaves to allow for clearance.

General Information

Figure 1. 

Queen Sago.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]
Scientific name: Cycas circinalis
Pronunciation: SYE-kus sur-sin-NAL-liss
Common name(s): Queen Sago
Family: Cycadaceae
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: border; accent; suitable for growing indoors
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Description

Height: 6 to 15 feet
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


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Spread: 8 to 12 feet
Plant habit: palm
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: spiral
Leaf type: even-pinnately compound
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 8 to 12 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: no flowers
Flower characteristic: no flowers

Fruit

Fruit shape: elongated
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristic: showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: can be trained to grow with a short, single trunk; usually with one stem/trunk; showy; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: not applicable
Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

When given sufficient room to spread, Queen Sago performs very well in shade or full sun and needs only occasional watering once established. It is too large for many small landscapes. King sago would be a good substitute in a small residential landscape.

Plants are usually propagated by seed but can also be started by division of suckers.

Scale can be a minor problem. Thrips can disfigure foliage.

Pests and Diseases

Leaf-spotting diseases usually cause only minor problems.

Figure 3. 

Foliage of Queen Sago.


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Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS161, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date October 1999. Revised June 2007. Reviewed June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.