Cycas circinalis seemannii (A.Br.) J.Schust.
Cycas rumphii seemannii (A.Br.) Kaneh.
Young cultivated plant
Photograph by: Raffi Kojian
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Cycas seemannii is an evergreen shrub or a tree, rarely branching, growing 1 - 12 metres tall, sometimes larger. A rather palm-like appearance, the sturdy, brown-ringed, usually unbranched stem is topped by a crown of fern-like fronds, each up to 2 metres long[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a source of food and a glue. It is occasionally grown in home gardens, and is cultivated as an ornamental[
A great deal of its habitat has been replaced by agriculture, yet, many plants are still encountered in patches of undisturbed forest. The plant is listed as Vulnerable based on a decline in habitat as a result of agriculture and use as a landscape plant. Decline is estimated as >30% over the past three generations (120 years) and is expected to continue[
].The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
The plants contain alkaloids of carcinogens and also an amino-acid that causes chronic nervous disorders[
]. Regular consumption of the plant leads to severe health problems and death. This toxic principle can be removed if the food is properly prepared but consumption of the plant still cannot be recommended because its use often means the death of the plant.
Southwest Pacific - New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.
Coastal areas, fallow areas, open forests, and savannah or grassland areas[
]. Usually found on calcareous beach dune sands or coral limestone formations, but extending to various substrates on continental islands[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds in full sun or in light shade[
]. Prefers a sandy, well-drained soil[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Seed - cooked[
]. The kernels are processed into a flour, mainly for use as a famine or ceremonial food[
]. Because the seed contains highly toxic hydrocyanic acid, a detoxification process is involved; evidence shows deleterious effects in populations eating the seeds without proper processing[
The fresh cones of male plants are reportedly edible[
The pith of the stem is starchy and used to make sago[
The fruit and bark are used medicinally[
The bark sap is used as a glue[
The fruits are strung together to make children's toys or rattles[
Seed - best sown in containers as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing. The seed should be sown 2cm deep in individual pots, which are then sealed in plastic bags to keep them moist until germination takes place. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 25°c[
Division of suckers in the spring[
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