Eugeissona Griffith (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Eugeissona Griffith

Family: Palmae

Major species and synonyms

  • Eugeissona insignis Beccari.
  • Eugeissona utilis Beccari.

Vernacular names

  • E. insignis : Indonesia: jato, kajatao (Kalimantan)
  • Malaysia: pijatau (Sarawak).
  • E. utilis : Wild Bornean sago palm (En). Indonesia, Malaysia: kajatao (Borneo).


Eugeissona is restricted to Peninsular Malaysia (2 species) and Borneo (4 species). E. insignis and E. utilis only occur on Borneo; E. utilis is also semi-cultivated.


Sago from the stems forms the staple food of the nomadic Dayak Punan people of Borneo (especially from E. utilis ) and emergency food for other people. Palm cabbage is used as a vegetable. Leaves provide thatch. Petioles are used in the manufacture of blinds, blowpipe darts and toys, and the pith of the petioles for the occlusions on blowpipe darts. The young endosperm of the seeds, and the pollen are edible. The stilt roots are useful for making walking sticks, umbrella handles and, after splitting, for wickerwork.


Clustering, spiny, hapaxanthic, polygamous palms with stems often supported by stilt roots, and sympodially branching by basal suckers. Leaves pinnate, arranged spirally, with spiny sheath; petiole robust, deeply furrowed, usually densely spiny; leaflets single-fold, numerous, linear to lanceolate. Inflorescence terminal, richly branched, erect, with numerous rachillae each comprising a cupule of 7-11 imbricate, leathery bracts enclosing a single dyad of a staminate and a hermaphroditic flower; the staminate flower opens and sheds long before exsertion of the hermaphroditic flower; petals woody, very large; stamens 21-70. Fruit ovoid, beaked, with very small, not clearly ordered scales, fibrous mesocarp and woody endocarp. Germination remote-ligular.

  • E. insignis : stilt roots 1-3 m long; stem 2-5 m tall, bearing up to 9 spiny leaves which are 10-13 m long; inflorescence 6-10 m tall, flowers 8-9 cm long; fruit about 10 cm long, 6 cm in diameter. It occurs on steep slopes and cliffs of coastal forests near sea-level and in coastal mountains up to 700 m altitude.
  • E. utilis : stilt roots short, numerous; stem up to 9 m tall and 20 cm in diameter; leaves large; inflorescence about 2 m long, flowers slender, up to 8-9 cm long; fruit 10 cm long, 5 cm in diameter. It is associated with poor soils with abundant humus, particularly on scarp faces or sharp ridgetops. Propagation from seed is easy; stems are harvestable 5 years after sowing in good soil (at the onset of flowering). The sago seems to be of a better quality than that of Metroxylon sagu Rottboell.

Selected sources

6, 13, 17, 18, 21, 32, 42, 83, 85.


L.E. Groen, J.S. Siemonsma & P.C.M. Jansen