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Plant Collections

Cycad Collection

Slow growing plants, palm like in appearance but classified in a distinct group. Plants are either female or male and produce cones containing either seed or pollen. Cycads are gymnosperms (naked seeded), i.e. their unfertilised seeds are open to the air to be directly fertilised by pollen. The bacteria in coralloid roots fix nitrogen from the air allowing good growth in poor soils. It also produce a neurotoxin which can be found in seeds. Cycads occur in tropical or subtropical parts of Japan, Pacific Islands, Australia, Central America, China, India, Madagascar and the east coast of Africa.

The bold architectural form creates a good focal point in a garden but young plants may take many years to reach maturity. Once established these plants can withstand dry conditions.

Best Viewed

  • Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn


Lepidozamia peroffskyana Burrawang

Cycas revoluta Sago Palm

Macrozamia communis

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Melbourne Gardens.

Key Plants

Lepidozamia peroffskyana Burrawang

Trunk to 7 meters, dark green leathery leaves. Produces large cones.

Cycas revoluta Sago Palm

Trunk or trunks to 3 metres, dark green shiny leaves. Good container plant.

Macrozamia communis

Short or no trunk, leaves in a rounded crown.

Encephalartos altensteinii

A large cycad which suckers to form dense clumps, leaves are prickly.

Ceratozamia mexicana

Medium cycad, leaves form a graceful crown.

Curator Notes

  1. Some plants are at risk of extinction in the wild due to poaching and loss of habitat.
  2. Tough long-lived plants requiring little water once established.
  3. Little care needed, prune off old, unsightly leaves.


The larger plants were planted in the 19th century. The current collection was brought together  in the 1990s.