The Q&A Archives: Sago Palm Center Ball?

Question: I have several sago plants in my yard. The oldest sago tree is about 15 years old. Last year I was able to cut away two babies from it and transferred those into pots for my backyard deck. The sago palm in the front yard has been beginnig to turn yellow, which I had attributed it to no rain. I was working in my yard this morning and had planned to go way out into the front with a hose long enough to reach the sago palm. When I got very close, I saw this HUGH furry white to light green BALL in the middle. Now one of my sago palms in my backyard has just recently opened up a brand new set of leaves from the center, like they normally would do. However, the sago palm in the front yard can not possibly do this because of the gigantic ball in the center. I also have two sago palms about the same agem right near the street, one on each side of my driveway. One has this same HUGH BALL in the center and the other one, directly across from it does not. The one without the ball by the street has also recently opened up a brand new set of palms. You can tell when it is new because the leaves are still soft and a lighter green than the rest of the plant.

What is the gigantic ball in the center of my sago palms?

The one in the middle of my yard that is turning yellow looks like it is being killed by this HUGH BALL!

Is this possible? Is this gigantic ball in the center killing my sago palm?

Or, in this a male plant?

If it is a male plant, how could it have produced two babies last year??

Please help!

It looks like I may be getting ready to lose this plant that I have had for 15 years!

Will this gigantic ball kill my plant?

Should I try to take it out?

It actually looks like it would be impossible to take out, it is so large, but it looks as though it is encompassing the entire plant. Engulfing the plant and the leaves extending from it from the bottom on up, if you will.

Is there something I need to do to save this plant? Will it die? Or, is this something that is natural?

Answer: Donna,

That sago is blooming. The round ball you described is what the bloom looks like on a female plant. As it grows and matures the bloom many dozens of seeds will form that are an inch and a half or more in size and bright orange red when ripe. If the plant were male it's bloom would look like a tall (about 1 1/2 feet) cream colored pine cone or pineapple.

The "babies" that you took off of the base of the plant are called "pups" and are simple new shoots growing from the base. They are not a sign of a plant being male or female and both will produce these pups.

Thanks for the question. Please stop in again soon!

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