The Gymnosperm Database


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Cycas circinalis


Common names

Taxonomic notes

Described 1658 from the Malabar Coast in southwest India and is the type species of Cycas. Due to its wide range and sporadic dispersal, many races exist and the species is highly variable. Its closest congener, C. rumphii, is chiefly distinguished by much larger seeds (Jones 1993).


Distribution and Ecology

Tropical areas including Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and various other islands of Oceania. It commonly forms dense stands in coastal districts, but also occurs inland and in India in mountainous regions at elevations to 1000 m. Situations range from full sun to moderate shade. Climates are summer-wet (Jones 1993).

The seeds float, tolerate exposure to seawater, and remain viable for long periods. This accounts for its widespread and predominantly coastal distribution (Jones 1993).

Big tree

Trunk to 5 m tall and 45 cm diameter (Jones 1993).



Sago and seeds of this widespread species have traditionally been used by native peoples throughout its range. It is a popular ornamental for outdoors planting in the tropics (Jones 1993).




See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29