S. Borneo to New Guinea and Ashmore Reef (as per WCSP)

Cycas rumphii, commonly known as queen sago or the queen sago palm, is a dioecious gymnosperm, a species of cycad in the genus Cycas native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Christmas Island. Although palm-like in appearance, it is not a palm.
‘Queen sago’ alludes to the name ‘king sago’ given to the related Cycas revoluta, as well as to its use as a source of edible starch. The specific epithet rumphii honours the German-born Dutch naturalist Georg Eberhard Rumphius (1628–1702), who served first as a military officer with the Dutch East India Company in Ambon, then with the civil merchant service of the same company.[1]
The cycad is a small tree, growing to about 10 m (33 ft) in height, with a trunk diameter of up to 40 cm (16 in). The bark is grey and distinctively fissured into rectangular, or diamond-shaped, segments. The leaves grow from the crown – bright green, glossy, palm-like fronds, 1.5–2.5 m (4.9–8.2 ft) long, with 150–200 leaflets on each frond. The spiny petiole is 35–60 cm (14–24 in) long. The male plant’s strobilus, or cone, is oblong-ellipsoidal, 30–60 cm (12–24 in) long, orange in colour and foetid in odour. The female’s megasporophylls are about 30 cm long, fleshy, brown and densely hairy, with the fertile area about 35 mm (1.4 in) wide. The seeds are 45 mm long and 30 mm wide, ripening from green to an orange- or reddish-brown colour.[1][2]
C. rumphii is part of a species complex which also includes C. circinalis from India, Sri Lanka, Indochina and southern China, and C. thoursii from the Seychelles, Madagascar and eastern Africa. Differences between these taxa, which have sometimes been considered conspecific, lie mainly in the shape and indentation of the lamina of the megasporophylls.[2]
The trunk of the cycad contains a starchy pith from which sago can be prepared by drying, grinding and washing. The seeds contain a toxic glucoside, pakoein, but can be treated to become edible by pounding, repeated washing, and cooking. The bark, seeds and sap are used in poultices to treat sores.[2]
Although the species is locally abundant, it is assessed as near threatened because it has undergone habitat loss across its range, and the population trend is decreasing.[3]
(from Wikipedia on 29.5.16)

Images by tspkumar


It is my pleasure to share few images of Cycas rumphii (Cycadaceae

Ref: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/search?q=cycas+rumphii

Ref: http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Ceylon%20Sago%20Palm.html

Ref: http://florakarnataka.ces.iisc.ernet.in/hjcb2/herbsheet.php?id=10&cat=2

Habit: Palm

Habitat: Cultivated

Sighting: Bangalore, Karnataka, about 800 msl

Date: 08-03-2016

Abundant in the Andamans with edible seeds.

…, thanks for the info. The Digital Flora of Karnataka says that it is native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and it is nearly threatened…!

The occurrence of the plant in the Andamans is a natural extension of range of this  Malesian species. It is very common from coastal to inland forests in all the Islands I have visited.

As per Cycads of India, we don’t have this species in India (at least in the wild). We have no accepted postings of this so far on this in efi.
In view it has to be checked again. 
From comparative images at Cycas, it seems to match with Cycas pschannae R.C. Srivast. & Lalji Singh sp. nov.
Request experts to pl. help.

In fact a specimen from PBL was sent to L long back for identification and they identified the same as Cycas rumphii.  Since then we are calling the bulk of the Andamans collections (the commonest species there) as C. rumphii also in use by the local tribes. It is clearly included in the CITIS List as a valid species (http://www.bsienvis.nic.in/CITES/Cycas%20rumphii.pdf). C. rumphii is indeed sometimes treated as a synonym of C. circinalis but this needs clarification by Cycad experts. The book on the Cycads of India overlooked the species and never mentioned about it.  The author probably never visited the Andamans and observed. Fully grown trees are available even at Dhanikhari garden. The species, C. pschannae appears to be dubious.  It was described on the basis of a cultivated plant in the AJC Bose IBG, introduced from the Andamans.  They observed the plant growing in the Islands but never collected a specimen and cited in the protologue.  In my opinion, it is very similar to C. rumphii and may ultimately be united with it.

I take it as Cycas rumphii unless otherwise clarified by the experts on Cycads.

Attachments (4) – Cycas channae.pdf, Cycas rumphii.pdf, The_Cycas_rumphii_complex, The_genus_Cycas__Cycadaceae.

Thank you very much, …, for details analysis & reasoning.
It is always nice to hear from experts like you.


Gymnosperm Fortnight: Seeds of Cycas rumphii : Attachments (1). 2 posts by 2 authors.
It is a rare photo of slices of seeds of Cycas rumphii relished by the Jarawas of the Andaman Islands as snacks after processing. Even they mix it up with fat of wild boar and take as a meal.

Thanks a lot … for this rare sighting… really interesting places information…

Thanks, …,
Is it cultivated & not wild in Andamans as it not shown in Cycads of India as well as in GRIN ?

It is wild in the Andamans from coastal to inland forests. It is very common in the Islands. Database as cited by you are not dependable very often.

Cycas zeylanica (J.Schust.) A.Lindstr. & K.D.Hill [=C.rumphii ssp.zeylanica] is clearly mentioned as growing wild in Andman & Nicobar by Lindstrom & Hill (2007) as indicated by …

A paper by Lindstrom & Hill (2007) is uploaded by me in my earlier post [ https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/indiantreepix/fAAiOFfD_Dg ] on Cycas circinalis. I believe it provides a better information on Indian Cycad than other databases.  


My name is … I am working as technical manager in a zoo and botanical garden in South East of France (www.zootropical.com). I worked with plants as palms and cycads. And sometime I travel and do personnal study on both kind of plants. Last december my wife and I went to Andaman (Havelock, North Passage Island, Long Island, Mayabunder area and Interview Island). We took pictures of the wild Cycas rumphii (syn. C. zeylanica) in several places.
By the past I did article for cycads and palms magazines and I would like to do one about the cycads I saw. Nothing scientific just some lines and pictures to share with readers the beauty of Andaman islands and flora.
I saw on internet a picture that you publish. I found it here https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/indiantreepix/8s0vm6pkVDg/TEQD4_wQMpsJ 
This picture and the information are very interesting. And I would like to know if you can teach me more about the cycad’s uses made by Andaman natives. Of course you accept to publish it in The Cycad Newsletter (the magazine to whom I plan to publish my article) it will be perfect. Of course I will respect your copyright and cited your name. 
Thank you in advance for your help. Please let me know if you need more detail.

Thanks for your mail.
I was deputed by the Director, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata, India as a member of a multidisciplinary team for carrying out studies on the Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands three times during 2001-2002. Most of the findings are unpublished so far.
As regards my posting on the efloraof India, the same is also unpublished. I have now written a book on the Ethnobotany of the Jarawa Tribe and I am now searching a publisher for the same.
As regards your enquiry, the Jarawa territory is restricted to public and we were specially allowed for our studies. About Cycas rumphii, I can tell you only about the procedure of processing of the seeds by them before consumption.

I have no idea of the plant but long back means in late 80’s I also photographed tribals in mandla – Balaghat district of M.P. cutting some sort of Potato and drying those chips on rocks.
I have to find that picture agaian and post it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *