Swamy Sago Palm
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Swamy Sago Palm
E Native Tree pinnate Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Swamy Sago Palm, Swamy Cycad
Botanical name: Cycas swamyi    Family: Cycadaceae (Sago Palm family)

Swamy Sago Palm is a plant with somewhat tree-like stem, columnar or branched with a broad base, reaching 8 m in height, 26-96 cm in diameter. Two kinds of habit were observed in the natural habitat: (1) plants having a columnar trunk with a maximum circumference of 80–100 cm at the base and 60–70 cm at chest height; (2) plants having an isotomous and decussate branched robust trunk with a circumference of about 100–200 cm at the base, with each dichotomy measuring 50–40 cm in circumference at chest height. A persistent armour of leaf bases is found on the small plants, but those attaining a height of 1.5 m or more mostly do not have a persistent armour of leaf bases; instead they show a flatted bark pattern. Young plants of 50–75 cm in height have a broad base tapering distally. Leaves pinnately compound, 0.75–1.5 m long, with 55–100 pairs of pinnae. Developing leaves are covered with ferruginous hairs on the lower surface. Mature pinnae lanceshaped, shiny dark green, 13–21 x 0.65– 0.9 cm, attachment of median pinnae on axis at 40–45°. Margin entire. Tip spinescent. The median pinnae in the vertical section lack the characteristic mucilage canals found in other species of Cycas from the Western Ghats. Leaf-stalk 15–30 cm long with opposite or subalternate pinnacanths. Pinnacanths 2–3 mm long. Microsporangiate cone oblong, reddish- orange, about 50 cm long. Megasporophylls 12–25 cm long from the base of the fertile stalk, bearing ovules up to the base of the sterile tip. Sterile tip broadly trullate, 4–6 x 3–4.5 cm with 15–19 regular lateral teeth on either side. Swamy Sago Palm is indigenous to south-eastern Karnataka.

Identification credit: Sheshadri Photographed in Hassan, Karnataka.

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