Position: Full sun to light shade
Flowering period: NA
Soil: Moist, well drained
Eventual Height: 2.5m (10m in the tropics)
Eventual Spread: 2.5m
Hardiness: 9b, 10a, 10b, 11, 12
Cycas thouarsii is an evergreen tropical palm like shrub. Its shiny dark green leaves are feather like in appearance, contain up to 70 leaflets, are arranged in a rosettes, up to 2m long and 40cm across. Its leaflets are opposite and up to 20cm long. Its trunk has an unkempt appearance, may achieve a diameter of up to 40cm and may produce offsets along its length. Its flowers are dioecious and both the male and female flowers appear at the centre of the leaf rosette. Its seed is initially yellow, becoming bright orange when mature.
Cycas thouarsii, commonly known as Madagascar Cycad or Madagascar Sago, is native to south east Africa, including Madagascar. In its native habitat this plant grows in open coastal forests. All parts of this plant are poisonous, some pets will eat its seeds, sometimes with fatal consequences.
The etymological root of the binomial name Cycas is derived from the Greek koikas, a name given to a palm by Theophrastus. Thouarsii is named after Louis-Marie Aubert Petit-Thours (1758-1831), a French botanist.
The landscape architect may find Cycas thouarsii useful as a palm like specimen houseplant. It is also suitable for planting in atriums and conservatories. Once established this plant is drought tolerant. This plant is tolerant of maritime conditions.
Ecologically, Cycas thouarsii flowers are pollinated by some insects.
Cycas thouarsii prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.
When maintaining Cycas thouarsii as a houseplant its soil should be watered regularly. Watering should be reduced during the winter months. Its preferred active growing temperature rages from between 18ºc to 24ºc, although it will tolerate a temperature as low as freezing. Feeding with weak fertiliser solution should be carried out once a month during the growing season.