HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT

Family Cycadaceae
Cycas edentata de Laub.

Scientific names Common names
Cycas edentata parviflora de Laub. Bait (Tag.)
Cycas litoralis K. D. Hill Bayit (Tag.)
  Pitogong-dagat (Tag.)
  Sauwang (Ilk._
  Sawang (Ilk.)
  Sea cycad (Engl.)
Cycas edentata de Laub. is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
MALAY: Kwale pahang.
THAI: Prong thale.

General info
- Cycas is a genus of plants belonging to an ancient lineage, the Cycadophyta, not closely related to palms, ferns, or trees. They are evergreen perennials, which achieved maximum diversity in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. (3)
- Cycas is the only genus recognized in the Cycadaceae family.. (3)
- Etymology:
Cycas is a Greek name for a kind of palm, referring to the palm-like growth habit of the plant. The species epithet 'edentata' is Latin —dentata meaning toothed, with the Latin prefix -e, without—meaning 'without teeth', referring to the smooth margins of the female cone's megasporophyll apices. (1) (7)
- In the Philippines, the plant was known since the earliest account of Philippine flora. It lingered in taxonomical confusion until recognized it as a distinct species in 1995 and formally described the taxon as C. litoralis in 1999. However, de Laubenfels had already described the taxon as Cycas edentata in 1998. (7)

Cycas edentata is a medium-sized palm-like plant with emergent, usually unbranched trunk up to about 10 m tall. Trunk bears rosette oblong, bright to deep green, feather-like leaves at its tips. Stalked leaves are spiny, up to 2.3 m long, and consist of 100-200 glossy, stiff, leathery, narrowly boat-shaped leaflets arranged neatly on either side of the leaf's axis. The trees are male or female, instead of flowers producing musky-scented cones growing at the tips of the tree trunk. Male trees produce cones that are compactly and regularly arranged, narrowly ovoid-cylindrical, orange-brown, and 30-60 by11-14 cm. Male cones are strongly scented, consisting microsporophylls that are 3.7-4.4 by 1.1-2.3 cm spirally arranged on a central axis. Microsporophylls have a distinct long, stout spine at the end, which differentiates from the vegetatively smaller Cycas rumphii. Female trees produce cones that are loosely arranged and elongated. Female cones consist of megasporophylls that are covered with brown hairs, 2-3 by 1.8-2.3 cm. Ovules and seeds are found on the margins of the megasporophylls. (1)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Grows in sandy or rocky coastal vegetation
, along shorelines in full or moderate shade.
- Also native to Andaman Islands, Borneo, Java, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sumatra, Thailand and Vietnam.
- IUCN listed as "Near Threatened" — the decline attributed to declining shoreline habitat. (5)

- Study of dichlormethane extract of C. edentata isolated 9αH-isopimara-7,15-diene (1), ß-sitosteryl fatty acid ester (2), and a mixture of ß-sitosterol (3a) and stigmasterol (3b) from the bark, and 3 and a mixture of 3a and 4b from the sclerotesta. (4)
- Study of dichlormethane extract of sarcotesta endotesta, leaflets, and male cones of C. edentata; and isolated ß-sitosteryl-3ß-glucopyranoside-6'-O-palmitate (1) from the sarcotesta; ß-sitosteryl fatty acid ester (2), unsaturated fatty acid methyl esters (3), and a mixture of ß-sitosterol (4a) and stigmasterol (4b) in about 5:1 ratio from the endotesta; chlorophyll-a (5) from the leaflets; and triacylglycerols (6) from the male cone. (5)

- Study has suggested antidiabetic activity.

Parts used
Seeds, resin, leaves.


- Caution: Most parts of a cycad plant including raw seeds are highly poisonous to humans, dogs, cattle, and sheep. Aboriginal people developed a method of soaking or ageing the seeds which render the toxins harmless and the seeds edible. (8)
- Unfurled leaves reported to be edible.
- Seeds yield a flour after soaking in water for a few days, changing the water frequently to leach out a toxic glucoside, (1)
- A sago-type flour can be made from the trunk. (1)
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines..
- Plant resin and seeds are applied to sores and malignant ulcers.
- Food source: Strongly scented male cones are visited by insects that forage for pollen. It is the preferred food plant by caterpillars of butterflies.

Chemical Constituents:
See constituents above. (4)
Secondary Metabolites: See constituents above. (5)
Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated the effects of aqueous leaf extract of C. edentata on the blood glucose levels of alloxan-induced diabetic mice. Results showed the leaf extract possess antidiabetic property at doses between 250 and 1000 mg/kbw. There was also significant lowering of cholesterol level. The extract showed no negative effects on hematologic parameters. (6)

- Wild-crafted.
- Ornamental cultivation.


March 2022

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Cycas Edentata / click on image go to source page / non-commercial use / inaturalist

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Cycas edentata / A Singapore Government Agency Website
Cycas edentata / Plants of the World Online
Cycas / Wikipedia
Chemical Constituents of Cycas edentata / Consolacion Y Ragasa, Vincent Antonio S Ng, Esperanza Maribel G Agoo, Chien-Chang Shen / Int J Pharm Sci Rev Res, July-August 2015; 33(2) Art 22: pp 107-109 /
Secondary Metabolites from Cycas edentata / Vuncent Antonio S Ng , Consolacion Ragasa et al / J Pharm Sci & Res., 2015' 7(9): pp 643-646 / ISSN: 0975-1459
Antidiabetic effects of Cycas edentata aqueous leaf extract ion the blood glucose levels of alloxan-induced diabetic ICR-mice (Mus musculus L.) / Elisha Hae V Elardo, Abbie Grace N Olea, Rodel Jonathan S Vitor II / Narl J Physiol Pharm Pharmacol., 2017; 7(11): pp 1284-1290 /
DOI: 10.5455/mjppp.2017.7.0726018082017
The genus Cycad (Cycadaceae) in the Philippines / A J Lindstrom, K D Hill,L C Stanberg / Telopea, 2008; 12(1): pp 119-145 / ISSN: 0312-9764
Cycads / Backyard Buddies


ng Passiflora names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The Univers ity of Melbourne. Australia.
Sorting Eragrostis names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.


DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT