Metroxylon sagu

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(sago palm)

A clump-forming palm, native to the Moluccas and New Guinea, that is now extensively cultivated throughout the Malay archipelago for its leaves (which are used to make a superior thatch) and for the starch in its trunk (which is used as food for animals or for humans during famine, and which is still the staple in parts of its natural range in New Guinea). Formerly it was cultivated for its fruits, which yield a vegetable ivory.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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