Ni-baam (Cycas circinalis - Cycadaceae)

Description: Although the Marshallese name, "ni-baam" refers to a kind of palm, this alien ornamental plant is not a palm at all. It is a cycad, an ancient type of gymnosperm ( or "naked seed" plant). It has a long taproot and many branched, tuberous side roots. The trunk is usually short, thick, and woody, crowned with large, long, compound leaves. The male and female flowers develop on separate trees.
Uses: None known.
Distribution: This plant was brought to the Marshall Islands in recent times, probably for ornamental purposes. It is native from India to the Philippines, and is known as the "federico palm" in Guam. In some places the poisonous, nut-like seeds are carefully processed and eaten, especially in times of famine. Please note, eating these seeds can be very dangerous, and should not be attempted unless they have been specially prepared.

Main Plants


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