This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Outside botanic gardens and a few private collections Cy-cadaceous plants are rarely seen in British gardens. On the Continent, however, specimens are more commonly met with. As market plants they are practically non-existent. A good trade, however, is done amongst florists in the leaves of some kinds, notably in those of Cycas revoluta, C. circinalis, and C. pectinata. The leaves of the latter drop naturally every year, while they remain evergreen for several years on the two first-named. For florists' work the leaves are chiefly used for wreath work and other funeral emblems, either in their natural green colour or in a silvered state. The leaves or fronds are gracefully arching and are deeply divided in a pinnate manner into numerous closely arranged long and narrow leaflets - the entire leaf resembling a huge vegetable feather, or comb, with teeth on both sides of the midrib. They lend themselves readily to the designs mentioned. The illustration (fig. 276) gives a good idea of C. circinalis, the "Sago Palm" of Ceylon, where the thick upright stem attains a height of 20 ft., surmounted by a rosette of leaves. Sago is obtained from the pith in the fleshy stems. C. revoluta, from China, is the hardiest species known. C. siamensis is an elegant species from Siam and Cochin China, having plume-like fronds 4 ft. in length. Growers interested in Cycads will find a fine collection in the Palm House at Kew.
Fig. 276. - Cycas circinalis.