Species Identification - Plants

Cabbage Palmetto, Sabal Palmetto - Arecaceae sanal

Family: Palm

 

Description: The state tree of South Carolina, the Cabbage or Sabal Palmetto grows up to 65 feet with some as high as 90 feet. It is a type of fan palm. It has yellowish-white flowers that are .2 inches across, occurring in large clusters up to 8 feet across. Its fruit is a black drupe about a half inch long with a single seed. The tree is tolerant of salt, drought, and cold, and it is resistant to fire, floods, and high winds. Its terminal bud has been eaten as hearts of palm, although extraction kills the tree; the bristles of young leaves have been made into scrub brushes; and the trunks have been used for wharf piles. Tasting a little like cabbage, its terminal bud has been eaten as hearts of palm.

Range: Sabal Palmetto is native to the subtropical Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US as well as Cuba and the Bahamas.

Photos by Carl Berube

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