T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Cycas taitungensis (Emperor Sago)

Kingdom:   Plantae
Division:    Cycadophyta
Class:        Cycadopsida
Order:       Cycadales
Family:      Cycadaceae
Genus:      Cycas
Species:     C. taitungensis
Binomial name: Cycas taitungensis
Synonym:  Cycas taiwaniana
Common name: Emperor Sago, Prince Sago

Warning: All parts of plant including the seeds are poisonous if ingested. It also has spines and sharp edges so use extreme caution when handling.

Cycas taitungensis is a species of genus Cycas, native to the mountainous southern parts of Taitung (Taidong) province of Taiwan. Populations are in the Lu-YehValley near Yenping Hsiang and to the west of the TaitungCoastalRange in Tunghe Hsiang. Occurs from 400 to 900 masl.  It is very cold-tolerant, able to survive temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius.
It is a medium sized cycad that can grow up to about 5 m tall, with a trunk about 450 mm across. It can occasionally branch.
The leaves are a glossy dark green and are up to 1.8 m long and 500 mm wide, flat to shallowly vee-ed in cross-section and straight in profile.
Its male cones are 45 - 55 x 6 - 10 cm, narrowly ovoid, stiffly erect, yellow and hairy. The female cones are globose and hairy.
The seeds are 3.5 - 5 x 2.5 - 3 cm, ellipsoid to oblong, the sarcotesta (fleshy seedcoat) is orange to red, powdery and hairy.

Photographed at Tupare Gardens, New Plymouth, Taranaki