Cycas circinalis

queen sago
Cycas circinalis in Kerala
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Cycadophyta
Class: Cycadopsida
Order: Cycadales
Family: Cycadaceae
Genus: Cycas
Species: C. circinalis
Binomial name
Cycas circinalis

Cycas circinalis, also known as the queen sago, is a species of cycad known in the wild only from southern India.

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Cycas circinalis is the only gymnosperm species found among native Sri Lankan flora.


The plant is widely cultivated in Hawaii, both for its appearance in landscape and interiors, and for cut foliage.[1] In the Philippines, it is locally known as patubo, pitogo or bitogo.

Use as food

The seed is poisonous. The potent poison in the seeds is removed by soaking them in water. Water from the first seed-soaking will kill birds, goats, sheep and hogs. Water from the following soakings is said to be harmless.

After the final soaking, the seeds are dried and ground into flour. The flour is used to make tortillas, tamales, soup and porridge.

Lytico-bodig disease

The plant was thought to be linked with the degenerative disease lytico-bodig on the island of Guam; however, the cycad native to Guam has since been recognised as a separate species, Cycas micronesica, by K.D. Hill in 1994.


Leaflets of C. circinalis contain biflavonoids such as (2S, 2′′S)-2,3,2′′,3′′-tetrahydro-4′,4′′′-di-O-methylamentoflavone (tetrahydroisoginkgetin).[2]


  1. Iwata, Ruth Y.; Rauch, Fred D. (October 1988). "King and Queen Sago". University of Hawaii. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  2. Phytochemical Investigation of Cycas circinalis and Cycas revoluta Leaflets: Moderately Active Antibacterial Biflavonoids. Abeer Moawad, Mona Hetta, Jordan K. Zjawiony, Melissa R. Jacob, Mohamed Hifnawy, Jannie P. J. Marais and Daneel Ferreira, Planta Med., 2010, 76(8), pages 796-802, doi:10.1055/s-0029-1240743

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