Cliff Cycad or Mountain Cycas in Langkawi

Langkawi Cliff Cycas Mountain Cycad

If you want to spot the rare and unique Cliff Cycad or Mountain Cycas in Langkawi, you need to head over to the Kilim Geoforest Park here.

Known also as Cycas clivicola subsp. clivicola, these Jurassic plants have been quietly thriving on the limestone hills of the park here.

Cliff Cycad or Mountain Cycas in Langkawi

For plant lovers heading to Langkawi, you may want to spot this as it is known as one of the rare plants in Langkawi and grows on limestone cliffs.

These ancient palm-like cycads, whose lineage dates back 220 million years, predate all other plants except ferns and has a dark grey trunk and dark green leaves.

There are also two subspecies for this plant where subspecies ‘lutea’ has a yellowish coloured trunk and ‘clivicola’ has a greyish one.

Langkawi Cliff Rare Mountain Plants
Cliff plants growing at the limestone rocks at the geopark in Langkawi.

How to Spot the Cliff Cycad or Mountain Cycas in Langkawi?

Usually, you need to take a mangrove boat tour and when you are passing any of the larger limestone hills or cliffs, keep your eyes open to spot them,

They can easily be seen with the naked eye and often grows solitarily by the cliffside. Personally, I have seen them numerous times in various areas of the Kilim Geoforest Park here.

If you engage a proper and licensed nature guide, you can ask them to point the plant out to you. Most boatmen would not know of this plant.

More Information on the Cliff Cycad

  • Botanical Name: Cycas clivicola (syn.: Cycas clivicola subsp. lutea, Cycas clivicola subsp. clivicola).
  • Common Names: Cliff Cycad, Mountain Cycad, Limestone Cycad
  • Family name: Cycadaceae.
  • Etymology: The specific epithet clivicola is derived from the Latin clivus, meaning a cliff, and the Latin suffix -cola, for dweller, as this plant usually grows in cracks high up in vertical limestone cliffs.
  • Origin: Native to the limestone outcrops in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and northern Peninsular Malaysia, and common on offshore islands.
Limestone Cycad Cycas Langkawi
These Cycas plants grow on the limestone cliffs.


One of the fascinating and rare plants spotted in Malaysia is the Cliff Cycad or Mountain Cycas in Langkawi. Apparently, they can only be seen on the island here or at the Tarutao National Park in Southern Thailand.

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