Superficial resemblance to : a
Uniquely identifiable characteristics
Distinguishing Feature :
No relation to :
Cabbage [a plant with similar name belonging to the Cabbage Family (Brassicaceae)]. Nor to Chusan Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) which has fan-shaped leaves but is in the differing Palm family (Arecaceae).
There are six different 'Cabbage Palms' (as a common name) known as such in the World, but only one Cabbage Palm is extant in the UK, namely the above, Cordyline australis. It is usually to be found growing near the sea and is often planted in gardens.
A native of Australia. Not really a tree, it just looks like one, but rather a flowering plant, a monocotyledon with just one seed-leaf in the initial sapling stage rather than a pair. The fruit is a berry. The leaves are very tough and can be made into paper. Young shoots are eaten in New Zealand. Dying leaves emit a phosphorescent light in the wild.
Yucca, a plant belonging to the same family, has similar leaves and also white flowers, but the flowers are bell-shaped and larger on Yucca. The flowers of Cabbage Palm, which are on multiple panicles forming a plume, are fragrant. The fruit is a blue-white berry 6mm across, drying with age. The bole has the same diameter throughout its length, and merely grows fatter each year . The bark is creamy-grey and has square cracks.
A SPIROSTANOL STEROID
Sapogenin, first discovered before 1931, is a furostanol and spirostanol steroidal saponin found in Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) from which it derives its name, Woolly Foxglove aka Grecian Foxglove (Digitalis lantana) and in Cabbage Palm. It is isomeric with Sarsapogenin, with one of the oxygen atoms occupying the adjacent 5-membered ring instead. Tigogenin is obtained commercially from the waste residues of the production of sisal fibres from the leaves of Agave sisalana and
American Agave, which is in the same Asparagus Family as is Cabbage Palm. Tigogenin is useful as a starting material for the production of other steroidal compounds used in pharmacy. It may even have beneficial effects itself yet to be fully evaluated (92% of human trials of pharmaceuticals fail due to adverse toxicity, and that is after they have passed the animal trials).