I was walking past a local hotel last week and came upon a cluster of sago palms, all in the throes of reproduction. Right there in plain site! Promiscuous plants, these sagos. Here is a male and a female planted side by side. I’m going to let you guess which is which.
Sago Palms typically aren’t mature enough to bloom and reproduce until they are 15 – 20 years old. In fact, until your sago blooms, you won’t know if you have a male or a female plant. It takes two to tango, so it’s a bit tricky if you are buying immature plants with the intent to propagate more in the future.
I find the female sagos are fascinating for their artistic styled, and fuzzy, leaves. I was on a historic homes tour one year, and realized that during the Arts & Crafts era artists used the shape of these leaves in a lot of their designs, particularly wallpaper and fabric. It’s only my observation, and may be incorrect, but it seemed obvious to me. Sago palms were a novelty plant, but popular, back in that era.
This is a close-up of the female palm’s megasporophyll, which is more simply put, modified leaves. They are soft and fuzzy.
The male sago palm really makes a statement, doesn’t it? This seed cone is about two feet tall.
This male sago palm has two seed cones. A bit unusual, but his father must be very proud. 🙂
A side note: Sago palm seeds are very poisonous to dogs. If you have a sago palm accessible to your dog, please beware…..