Oliba

Family • Cycadaceae - Cycas revoluta - SAGO PALM - Su tie

Scientific names

Cycas revoluta Thunb.
Cycas inermis Loureiro
Su tie (Chin.)

Common names

Oliba (Tag.)
Oliva (Span.)
King sago palm (Engl.)
Sago palm (Engl.)
Tie shu (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Bi huo jiao, Feng wei jiao, Feng wei song, Feng wei cao
CZECH: Cykas japonsky.
DANISH: Sagopalme.
FINNISH: Saagopalmu.
FRENCH: Cycas du Japon, Cycas sagoutier.
GERMAN: Sagopalme.
ITALIAN: Palma a sagu.
JAPANESE: So-tetsu.
KOREAN: So ch’eol.
RUSSIAN: Sagovnik ponikaiushchii, Sagovnik ponikaiushchii drevovidnyi, Tsikas ponikaiushchii .
SPANISH: Cicas revoluta, Palma sagú, Sagutero.

Legend
Cycas revoluta has been called the “living fossil” because of its origin traced all the back to the ancient flora of early Mesozoic era, (200 million years ago).

Oliba

Botany
Oliba is a cycad with a stout and cylindric trunk marked with prominent scars, in the Philippines usually not growing more than a meter in height, elsewhere reported to grow as high as 5 meters. Leaves are numerous, crowded, spreading, 0.5 to 1.5 meters long. Leaflets are very numerous, close, and linear; 18 centimeters long in the middle, 4 to 6 millimeters wide, the upper surface glabrous, the lower, hairy. Ovules are hairy. Seeds are on loosely arranged leaves around the stem. Seeds are large, plum-like, and pale-yellow to tan.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Cycad Coralloid Roots Housing Cyanobacteria / M. Caiola / Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology, 2004, Volume 4, VI, 397-409, DOI: 10.1007/0-306-48173-1_25

(2) Presence of aromatase inhibitors in cycads 

(3) Cycas revoluta / Wikipedia

(4) Toxicology Brief: Cycad toxicosis in dogs / Hany Youssef, BVSc, DVM, MS • VETERINARY MEDICINE

(5) The lectin from leaves of Japanese cycad, Cycas revoluta Thunb. (gymnosperm) is a member of the jacalin-related family / Fumio Yagi, Toshinobu Iwaya et al / Eur. J. Biochem. 269, 4335–4341 (2002)  FEBS 2002 / doi:10.1046/j.1432-1033.2002.03127.x

(6) Cycas revoluta / Plants For A Future

(7) Possible etiologies for tropical spastic paraparesis and human T lymphotropic virus I-associated myelopathy / V. Zaninovic / Braz J Med Biol Res vol.37 no.1 Ribeirão Preto Jan. 2004

(8) Cycas revoluta / National Tropical Botanical Garden

(9) Sorting Cycas names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

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Distribution
– Introduced.
– Now, cultivated for ornamental purposes.
– Native to Japan and southern China.

Constituents
• Many cycads are toxic because the stems, leaves and seeds contain high amounts of cycasin alkaloids, macrozamin or methylazoxymethanol. Both cycasin and macrozamin are harmful to the liver; cycasin and methylazoxymethanol are neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
• Japanese study isolated a novel leptin from the leaves of CR.
• Seeds have yielded B-N-methylamin-L-alanine (BMAA) used for tonics and poultices.
• Study yielded a novel nonprotein amino acid, cycasindene.

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Properties
• Seeds of Cycas species reported to be toxic and carcinogenic.
• Terminal shoot considered astringent and diuretic.
• Seed considered emmenagogue, expectorant, tonic.

Parts utilized and preparation
Fruit, leaves.

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Uses
Edibility
• Fleshy seeds, leaves, unprocessed flour from stem pith considered poisonous. Considered by some to be toxic only if consumed in large quantities.
• Seeds are widely consumed as food and medicine (as tonic or poultices) in southern Japan, the Chamorros of Guam, and the Auyu people of New Guinea, Australia, and the western Pacific Islands.
• Seeds are dried and ground into powder, and mixed with brown rice and fermented into “date miso” or “sotetsu miso.”

Folkloric
• Like the palaspas, some albularyos have the leaves ‘blessed’ on Palm Sunday and used for a variety of medicinal uses.
For suob, the leaves are dried and powdered, and added to to the insenso kamanyan for the the ritual.
• In China, fruit used as expectorant and tonic.
• Despite known toxicities, Cycad stems and seeds are used for high blood pressure, headaches, congestion, rheumatism and bone pain.
• Leaves used in the treatment of cancer and hepatoma.
• Terminal shoots used as astringent and diuretic.
• In Japan’s Kii Peninsula, a “tonic” is made from the dried seeds of CR.
• In Bangladesh, the whole plant used for paralysis, indigestion, snake bites.

Others
• Palm Sunday: Leaves used for the ritual palms for Palm Sunday.

Study Findings
• Presence of aromatase inhibitors in cycads: One of five species of cycas folia studied for inhibition of cytochrome P-450 aromatase for use in the treatment of estrogen-dependent tumors.
• Lectin: Study isolated a novel lectin from the leaves of Cycas revoluta. The inhibition analysis of hemagglutinating activity and partial amino acid sequences of lysylendopeptic peptides show it to belong to the jacalin-related lectin family.
• Leaves / Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Hydroalcoholic extracts of leaves showed potent antimicrobial activity against E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Saccharomyces cerevisae. Extracts also showed antioxidant activity.

Toxicity
• Toxic / Caricinogenic: Seeds of Cycas species reported to be toxic and carcinogenic. Many cycads are toxic because the stems, leaves and seeds contain high amounts of cycasin alkaloids, macrozamin or methylazoxymethanol. Both cycasin and macrozamin are harmful to the liver; cycasin and methylazoxymethanol are neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
• Cycasin / Toxins: Although all parts of the plant are toxic, it is the seed that contains the highest level of toxin cycasin. Cycasin causes gastrointestinal irritation with vomiting, diarrhea and may cause seizures, hepatotoxicity with jaundice, cirrhosis, ascites and liver failure. Other toxins are beta-methylamino-L-alanine and an unidentified toxin. Beta-methylamino-L-alanine is a neurotoxic amino acid known to cause ataxia in rat and neuro-manifestations in humans. The unidentified toxin may cause hind limb paralysis in cattle from CNS axonal degeneration. Besides the excitatory and putative neurotoxin BMAA, Cycas revoluta also yield o-N-oxalylornithine.
• Guam Disease: Beta-methylamino-L-alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid, causes ataxia in rats and is implicated in Guam disease with symptoms similar to Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Lou Gehrig (ALS) diseases.
• Livestock: In cattle, an unidentified toxin may cause hindlimb paralysis, with axonal degeneration the CNS.

Availability
Ornamental cultivation.