This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

May 28, 2015

Why your big sago palm isn't really very valuable after all

If you have an old sago palm (cycas revoluta) on your property, similar to the ones in the photo (which aren't mine, by the way - I wish they were!), you may have heard somewhere how outrageously valuable they are. But even if they are six feet tall, like the ones in the photo are, they're only worth a few hundred dollars, and that's a retail price, at a nursery. It has to do with the species of cycad.

A sago palm is a cycad. And certain cycads are very rare. And its their rarity that makes them valuable. It takes an expert eye to discern the difference, but that means that a rare plant may be worth many thousands of dollars, and a not-so-rare plant (like the common sago palm) isn't.

Personally, I don't care. I'm not a collector, I'm a gardener. The reason that sago palms are the least valuable of all of the cycads is that they are most popular. And they are the most popular, in my opinion, because they are the most beautiful. Yes, cycad collectors may see beauty in rarity, but for me, it doesn't matter. Sago palms have a beautiful shape, leaf structure, and color.

Cycads are miniature plants. Usually they are seen looking like ferns, only a foot or so tall. When they get really tall, they become giant miniatures (I guess like Jumbo Shrimp?). If your sago palm is six feet tall, it's a giant miniature, and very impressive.
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