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Products > Cycas thouarsii
Cycas thouarsii - Madagascar Sago

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Cycad
Family: Cycadaceae (Cycads)
Origin: Madagascar
Evergreen: Yes
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [C. madagascariensis, C. circinalis forma glauca]
Height: 4-8 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Light Shade/Part Sun
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Cycas thouarsii (Madagascar Sago) A large fast growing cycad that grows fast to 10 to 30 feet in the tropics with a thick trunk and 10 foot long leaves. Plants in cultivation in California are slower (though still fast for a cycad) and not likely to grow to these proportions, at least in the near future - expect plants to develop shorter trunks with an overall height of 4-8 feet tall within a reasonable time frame. This plant produces a leaf flush with many (up to 40) 5+ foot long by 1-2 foot wide leaves that are bluish when they first emerge and darken to a deep shiny green with age. The leaves have 60-70 pairs of leaflets that are lighter colored below with margins turned down. Plant in a moist well-drained soil. It grows exceptionally well in full sun only in tropical climates but is a great plant in shade or partial sun in temperate less humid environments. It is completely hardy to only a very light frost but can tolerate short duration cold temperatures down to around 25F with minor leaf scorching. Plants grow out of this with a flush of new leaves. Plants should be protected from prolonged or lower cold temperatures and are best when grown in USDA zones 9b or higher. This plant comes from open coastal forests of Madagascar and the east coast of Africa from Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya and the Comoro Islands (Les Comores). Typically it is found near the coast in sand or coral formations with rainfall ranging from 79 to 110 inches per year. There is some speculation that Cycas thouarsii growing in Africa and the Comoro Islands may have been introduced into these areas by early Arab traders. This plant was introduced into the Seychelles and Mauritius in this manner. The name honors Louis-Marie Aubert Petit-Thours (1758-1831) a botanist working in Africa who mistakenly identified the species in 1804 as the Indian plant Cycas circinalis. It is thought to be one of the most ancient of the Cycads - perhaps surviving for 140 million years.  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden, and in other gardens where it has been observed. We also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing  Cycas thouarsii.