Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Sago Palm

The Sago Palm is not one of my favorite plants because it has stiff, pointed "spears" (sharp pinnate) for leaves and if I brush too near, they pierce my skin. Sago Palms are hard to trim and they have a habit of populating right at their base. I've tried to dig up a few of little shoots, and they are really tough to get out of the ground. I first encountered the Sago when I lived in Hawaii. Now they abound in my Houston side yard.

Sago Palms originated in South Asia and are often eaten as a starch, somewhat like pearl tapioca by populations in the far South Pacific island chains, although it is a toxic plant and must be processed in order to make it safe to eat. (Please don't try this at home!)

A botanist once visited me in Hawaii where she saw my Sago Palms in the yard, and she declared that the Sago Palm is the oldest living plant left on this planet we call home. Indeed, it is known in botanty circles as a living fossil.

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