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Blue Palmetto

Sabal palmetto (Walter) Lodd. ex Schult. & Schult. fil.

Comments

provided by eFloras
Sabal palmetto grows in a variety of habitats, from pine and oak associations to coastal dunes and to coastal marshes (K. E. Brown 1976; S. Zona 1990). Like S. minor, it is polymorphic at the extremes of its range; however, differences in stature, size, and trunk characteristics are not of a magnitude to warrant taxonomic rank. In the pine rocklands of Dade County, Florida, S. palmetto may flower and fruit with little or no aboveground trunk.

Although Sabal palmetto is a moderately important honey plant, its greatest economic use is as an ornamental.

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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
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Flora of North America Vol. 22: 109 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

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Stems usually aerial, 20--35 cm diam. Leaves 15--30, strongly costapalmate, bearing threadlike fibers between segments; hastula acute to acuminate, 5.3--18 cm; segments 55--120 ´ 2.5--4.2 cm; apices bifid2-cleft. Inflorescences with 3 orders of branching (not counting main inflorescence axis), arching, equaling or exceeding leaves in length. Flowers 4.1--6.7 mm. Fruits black, spheroid, length 8--13.8 mm, diam. 8.1--13.9 mm. Seeds 4--7 mm, diam. 5.4--9.7 mm diam. 2n = 36.
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copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 22: 109 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
editor
Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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eFloras.org
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Distribution

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Fla., Ga., N.C., S.C.; West Indies (Bahamas, Cuba).
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 22: 109 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
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Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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Flowering/Fruiting

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Flowering spring--summer (northern part of range) or year around (southern part of range).
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copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 22: 109 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
editor
Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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eFloras.org
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Habitat

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Hammocks, pinelands, river banks, dunes, tidal flats; 0--40m.
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Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 22: 109 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
editor
Flora of North America Editorial Committee
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Synonym

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Corypha palmetto Walter, Fl. Carol., 119. 1788; Chamaerops palmetto (Walter) Michaux; Corypha palma W. Bartram; Inodes palmetto (Walter) O. F. Cook; Sabal jamesiana Small
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cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
bibliographic citation
Flora of North America Vol. 22: 109 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
source
Flora of North America @ eFloras.org
editor
Flora of North America Editorial Committee
project
eFloras.org
original
visit source
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eFloras

Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
When growing on organic soil or soil with a deep organic layer, very
severe fires may consume the soil itself, killing cabbage palmettos by
root damage and lack of mechanical support [19].
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cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: fire frequency, fire severity, frequency, severity

Frequent fires allow cabbage palmetto to form pure stands and invade
mixed stands [19]. Twenty-one years of fires in Everglades National
Park resulted in a net increase in cabbage palmetto stems [17]. Egler
wrote that the increase in fire severity and decrease in fire frequency
following European settlement allowed cabbage palmettos to dominate high
hammock communities in southern Florida [6].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Common Names

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
cabbage palmetto
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Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Description

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: drupe, fruit, perfect, seed, tree

The cabbage palmetto is an erect, unbranched palm tree. It grows to a
height of 33 to 82 feet (10-25 m) with a stem diameter of 12 to 24
inches (30-60 cm). Typically the stem diameter is uniform from the
base to the crown. Leaf bases or "boots" may persist on the stem or
slough off, giving the stem a smooth appearance [5,19,21].

Cabbage palmetto leaves are fan-shaped, palmately divided, and
spineless. They are borne on a prominately-arching midrib and may be 3
to 9 feet (1-3 m) long. Cabbage palmetto flowers are perfect, showy,
and creamy to yellowish white. They are borne in arching or drooping
clusters. The fruit is a black, fleshy, drupe that contains a single
brown spherical seed [13]. Sargent (1933 in [19]) described the cabbage
palmetto root system as a short, bulbous, underground stem surrounded by
a dense mass of contorted roots with smaller, light orange roots
penetrating the soil to a depth of 15 to 20 feet (4.6-6.1 m).
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Distribution

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Cabbage palmetto grows throughout peninsular Florida and the Florida
Keys. It grows in the coastal areas of the Florida panhandle, Georgia,
and South Carolina [19,22]. It is cultivated in Hawaii [23]. Outside of
the United States, cabbage palmetto occurs in the Bahamas and Cuba
[19,22].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Fire Ecology

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: fire regime

Cabbage palmetto grows in areas where ground fires are frequent and
common but crown fires are rare. It has a well-protected, deeply
imbedded terminal bud, which is held aloft on a fire-resistant trunk.
It survives fire [19].

FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find FIRE REGIMES".
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat characteristics

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: relict

Climate: Cabbage palmetto grows in a humid, subtropical to
warm-temperate climate. Within its range, the average annual rainfall
is 39 to 64 inches (100-163 cm). The average maximum and minimum
temperatures range from 97 to 25 degrees F (36 to -4 deg C). Low winter
temperatures probably limit cabbage palmetto's northern range.

Soils: Cabbage palmetto tolerates a wide range of soil acidities,
salinities, and drainage conditions. It grows best on neutral to
alkaline soils which are rich in calcium. Because of its calcium
affinity, cabbage palmetto frequently grows near exposed calcareous
sands, marls, and limestones. Cabbage palmetto prefers poorly to very
poorly drained soils and often grows on the edge of freshwater and
brackish wetlands. It tolerates salt and occasional flooding. The
Entisol, Alfisol, Ultisol, and Spodosol soil orders all support cabbage
palmetto.

At the northern limit of its range, cabbage palmetto grows mainly on the
baysides of coastal dunes. In central Florida it grows on periodically
flooded lowlands, relict inland dunes, and ridges below 100 feet (30 m).
With drainage, cabbage palmetto invades the once seasonally inundated
interhammock glades. Along freshwater sources, cabbage palmetto can
form pure stands covering up to 25 acres (10 ha). Such stands are
called "river hammocks" if along a river, and "cabbage-palm hammocks" or
"palm savannas" if inland [1].

Cabbage palmetto growth may indicate sites influenced by subtropical
conditions [12] or frequent fires [15].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Cover Types

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More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

70 Longleaf pine
73 Southern redcedar
74 Cabbage palmetto
84 Slash pine
105 Tropical hardwoods
111 South Florida slash pine
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Ecosystem

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More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES41 Wet grasslands
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Plant Associations

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More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: forest

K079 Palmetto prairie
K090 Live oak - sea oats
K092 Everglades
K112 Southern mixed forest
K115 Sand pine scrub
K116 Subtropical pine forest
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Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Immediate Effect of Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Cabbage palmettos probably sustain only superficial damage from most
fires.
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

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More info for the term: fruit

Black bears, raccoons, bats, northern bobwhites, wild turkeys,
ring-necked gulls, cardinals, great-tailed grackles, blue jays, and
scrub jays all eat cabbage palmetto fruit [19,23]. White-tailed deer
also eat the fruit, but cabbage palmetto foliage is not browsed [13].
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Key Plant Community Associations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: cactus, fern, swamp, tree, xeric

In southern Florida, cabbage palmetto is a common component of high and
low hammock, tree island, and mixed conifer-hardwood swamp communities
[2,3,7,9,10,13,15]. Elsewhere it grows in more xeric scrub and Miami
rock-ridge inland communities [4,15]. In the Florida Panhandle,
Georgia, and South Carolina, cabbage palmetto grows within 12 miles (20
km) of the coast. It is a componenet of several diverse plant
communities, including those characteristic of dunes, salt flats,
barrier islands, and cactus thickets [1].

Associates are many and varied because of the diversity of Florida's
flora and the ecological amplitude of cabbage palmetto. Overstory
associates include south Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var.
densa), slash pine (P. elliottii var. elliottii), pond pine (P.
serotina), loblolly pine (P. taeda), longleaf pine (P. palustris),
eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), various evergreen oaks (Quercus
spp.), loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus), red bay (Persea borbonia),
magnolia (Magnolia spp.), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), red maple
(Acer rubrum), baldcypress (Taxodium spp.), pignut hickory (Carya
glabra), gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), and cocoplum (Chrysobalanus
icaco). Understory associates include gallberry (Ilex glabra),
huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), lyonias
(Lyonia spp.), southern bayberry (Merica cerifera), holly (Ilex spp.),
saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), bracken fern
(Pteridium spp.), poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), bluestem
(Andropogon spp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis), and beak rush
(Rhynchospora spp.). Exotic associates and probable competitors include
casuarina (Casuarina spp.), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), coconut
(Cocos nucifera), and Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia).
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Life Form

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More info for the term: tree

Tree
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Management considerations

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More info for the term: natural

The extensive use of cabbage palmetto for urban landscaping is depleting
natural stocks. Cabbage palmetto management is clearly needed, though
untried. Wade and Langdon [19] suggest that cabbage palmetto
silviculture should be fairly simple. Even and uneven-aged management
of mixed or pure stands are appropriate. Site drainage and aerial
applications of 2-4-D will damage cabbage palmetto stands [19].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Occurrence in North America

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
FL GA HI SC
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Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Other uses and values

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More info for the term: tree

The terminal bud of cabbage palmetto is edible and tastes somewhat like
cabbage (Brassica spp.)--hence the name. Removal of the bud kills the
tree. Cabbage palmetto leaves are used to make canes, scrub brushes,
thatch, and baskets. Bees use its pollen. Cabbage palmetto is a
popular ornamental [19,23].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Phenology

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More info on this topic.

Cabbage palmetto flowers from April to August, depending on latitude.
Fruits begin to develop in the fall and are mature by winter [13,19,23].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Plant Response to Fire

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: competition

Most fires probably favor cabbage palmetto growth by removing
competition.
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Post-fire Regeneration

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
not applicable
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Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Regeneration Processes

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the term: seed

Cabbage palmetto flowers are insect pollinated [13,19,23]. Fruits
persist on the spadix until removed by wind, rain, or birds such as
ringed-neck gulls, fish crows, cardinals, and blue jays. On the ground,
cabbage palmetto seeds are eaten or cached by small mammals. Birds and
mammals act as dispersal agents. Cabbage palmetto seeds are buoyant and
salt resistant. Near coastal areas, water is an important means of seed
dispersal as well [23]. Meyers (1977 in [19]) reports that seed
survival is low. Of roughly 620,000 seeds produced per acre
(1,500,000/ha), only about 9 percent survive frugivory. Seeds exposed
to sunlight for long periods do not germinate well. The first year's
growth consists of a primary root, one fully expanded leaf, and a
rhizomatous stem. There is no information on vegetative growth [19].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Successional Status

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More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, forest, formation

The successional status of cabbage palmetto is disputed. Wade and
Langdon [19] described it as shade-tolerant, and characteristic of
climatic climax, and fire climax communities. Daubenmire [4], however,
described it as an early seral, woody invader of open savannas.
Similarly, Zona [23] reported that it is shade intolerant and that
seedlings under a closed canopy remain suppressed and form no
aboveground stem. Stem elongation and sexual maturation await gap
formation in the canopy. In more open habitats along forest edges, on
dunes, and in abandoned fields, growth and recruitment are immediate
with no suppressed stage. Cabbage palmetto thrives in anthropogenic
habitats.
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Synonyms

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Sabal jamesiana Small
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Taxonomy

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
The currently accepted scientific name for cabbage palmetto is Sabal
palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. (Arecaceae). There are no infrataxa [22].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
More info for the terms: fruit, stratification, tree

Cabbage palmetto is the most wind-resistant tree in southern Florida and
is relatively resistant to damaging insects and other pathogens [19].
It tolerates salt spray and brackish water [23]. These attributes make
cabbage palmetto potentially useful for disturbed site rehabilitation.

Propagation of cabbage palmetto in the nursery requires the collection
of ripe fruits. Seeds can be separated with a macerator or by rubbing
the fruit on hardware cloth. Seeds require no pretreatment to break
dormancy, but stratification in moist sand for 30 days at 38 degrees F
(3 deg C) speeds germination. Seeds should be planted 0.5 to 1 inch
(1.5-3 cm) deep in light soil and should not be allowed to dry out.
There are about 1,650 dried seeds per pound (3,630/kg) [13].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Wood Products Value

provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
Cabbage palmetto wood is sea-worm resistant, splinter resistant, and
unusual looking (no growth rings). It is used for warf pilings, poles,
broom handles, and ornamental table tops [19,21].
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bibliographic citation
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Associated Forest Cover

provided by Silvics of North America
In the forest cover type Cabbage Palmetto (Society of American Foresters Type 74), the species usually makes up a plurality of the stocking (11). Because cabbage palmetto can accommodate a wide range of sites, it is found in association with many plant species, especially in south Florida. It is found on severe sites such as dunes, salt flats, barrier islands, cactus thickets, and wet prairies. It is a common component of such diverse communities as freshwater cypress swamps, relic inland dune ridges, and rockland pine forests, where it grows with South Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) and various tropical hardwoods on limestone outcrops. Other coniferous associates include typical slash pine (P. elliottii var. elliottii), pond pine (P. serotina), and loblolly pine (P. taeda) at edges of marshes; longleaf pine (P. palustris) on dry sites such as xeric hammocks; and eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) in hydric hammocks. Cabbage palmetto is also a component of both temperate and subtropical hardwoods, which include species such as the various evergreen oaks (Quercus spp.), loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus), redbay (Persea borbonia), magnolias (Magnolia spp.), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), red maple (Acer rubrum), baldcypress (Taxodium spp.), pignut hickory (Carya glabra), gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), cocoplum (Chrysobalanus Waco), Florida strangler fig (Ficus aurea), Florida poisontree (Metopium toxiferum), and wild tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum). The abundance of cabbage palmetto within a given community is often related to the site's fire history. Cabbage palmetto can survive fires that kill other arborescent vegetation be cause of its deeply embedded bud and fire-resistant trunk; it thus tends to form pure stands with periodic burning (19,27,30).

Associated understory vegetation includes gallberry (Ilex glabra), huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.) blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), lyonias (Lyonia spp.), waxmyrtle (Myrica cerifera), holly (Ilex spp.), saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), bracken (Pteridium spp.), blackberry (Rubus spp.), poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), bluestem (Andropogon spp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis), beak-rush (Rhynchospora spp.), and such epiphytic plants as the common tree orchid (Tillandsia spp.), and various bromeliads in the subtropical hammocks.

Several naturalized exotics, namely casuarina (Casuarina spp.), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), coconut (Cocos nucifera), and Brazil peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia), are now commonly associated with cabbage palmetto-apparently at its expense-but it is too early to judge the extent of their competition.

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Climate

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The climate within the natural range of cabbage palmetto is principally subtropical to warm temperate, humid, with an average annual rainfall of 1000 to 1630 mm. (39 to 64 in) and average annual minimum and maximum temperatures from about -4° to 36° C (25° to 97° F). Low winter temperatures apparently limit the horticultural range of the species, which now extends more than 160 km (100 mi) north and inland of its natural range (3).

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Damaging Agents

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In its native environment, only a rising sea level, hurricanes, and organic soil fires are harmful to this species. It is apparently free of damaging insects and most other pathogens, although bole cankers have been reported (26). Seed predation by the bruchid beetle, as previously discussed, would be a major problem but for the large number of seed produced each year.

South of the Tamiami Trail, which crosses the lower part of south Florida, cabbage palmetto mortality is significant because extensive drainage schemes, resulting in a reduced freshwater head, have combined with a rising sea level to produce increased salinities (1,8). Cabbage palmetto has been rated the most wind-resistant south Florida tree but it nevertheless suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Donna in 1960, particularly on Palm Key in Florida Bay (9). Cabbage palmetto growing on organic soil or deep humus deposits are killed by fire burning in this organic layer because of root mortality and loss of mechanical support. The extensive use of these trees in urban landscaping is depleting native stands of mature cabbage palmetto, suggesting a future need to manage stands for this use.

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Flowering and Fruiting

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Flowers are perfect, about 6 mm (0.25 in) in diameter by 3 mm (0.125 in) long, and creamy to yellowish white (19,29). The showy flowers are borne in profusion in arching or drooping clusters 1.5 to 2.5 m (5 to 8 ft) long, from April through August in south Florida but for only a 4- to 6-week period beginning in the middle of July in North Carolina (3,31). The fragrant flowers are pollinated by bees, although other insects may be of local importance (3). The fruits are black, fleshy, drupelike berries, 5 to 13 mm (0.2 to 0.5 in) in diameter and averaging about 10 mm (0.4 in), each containing a single, hard, brown, spherical seed (2,3).

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Genetics

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The only available information on varieties pretains to growth differences between seedlings at Smith Island, NC, and Miami, FL. Both the biomass and the photosynthetic rate of the Miami seedlings were more than twice that of the Smith Island plants, differences that were statistically significant (3).

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Growth and Yield

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Since palms do not have a cambium as such, they do not produce annual growth rings. Cabbage palmetto reaches its maximum development in south-central Florida, but good growth also occurs along the Gulf Coast to the Apalachicola River. Mature trees are straight, unbranched, with heights from 10 to 25 m (33 to 82 ft) and diameters of 30 to 61 cm (12 to 24 in) (21). A dense well rounded crown is almost always formed. On many trees the leaf bases or "boots" remain securely attached while on others they slough off, leaving a fairly smooth trunk (fig. 3). Diameters are exaggerated when these boots remain attached to the trunk. Average growth rates are unknown. One specimen, planted as an ornamental in south-central Florida, grew to a height of 9 m (30 ft) and a diameter including boots of about 76 cm (30 in) in 16 years (6).

Few stand measurements of cabbage palmetto have been made; stem counts, in the rockland pine forest of Everglades National Park (28) and in the sandy marl pine-palm association (4) and the mixed swamp forest of the Big Cypress National Preserve (27), showed cabbage palm to be rather abundant, with stems numbering 900/ha (364/acre), 500/ha (202/acre), and 180/ha (73/acre), respectively. In a cabbage-palm hammock just north of the Big Cypress Swamp, the count of cabbage palmetto was 1,010/ha (409/acre), with a basal area of 53.0 m² /ha (231 ft²/acre); there were 7,150 palm seedlings per hectare (2,895/acre) under breast height (19).

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Reaction to Competition

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Cabbage palmetto is classed as shade tolerant and is probably a climatic climax as well as a fire climax. Since intensive management of cabbage palmetto has not been tried, the effects of various silvicultural treatments are conjectural. But its management would appear to be simple and straightforward, with the tree managed in either pure or mixed stands under either an even-or all-age management system.

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Rotting Habit

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The underground stem of cabbage palmetto is short and bulbous, surrounded by a dense mass of contorted roots commonly 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) in diameter and 1.5 to 1.8 rn (5 to 6 ft) deep. From this mass, tough, light-orange roots often almost 13 mm (0.5 in) in diameter penetrate the soil for a distance of 4.6 to 6.1 m (15 to 20 ft) (22).

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Seed Production and Dissemination

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The fruits mature in the fall and persist on the spadix until removed by wind, rain, or birds such as ring billed gulls, fish crows, cardinals, and blue jays. Once on the ground, the fruits are eaten by numerous animals or cached by rodents; such caches result in dense patches of seedlings (3,14,19). In near-coast situations, however, the major means of dissemination appears to be by water. The distribution of cabbage palmetto along the Atlantic shoreline is attributed to the seed's buoyancy and tolerance of saltwater. Thus, the range of cabbage palmetto is a function of the speed and direction of estuarine and littoral currents along a shoreline. This fact explains the species spread northward along the Atlantic Coast and its expansion westward along the Gulf Coast (3).

Cabbage palmetto produces large numbers of fruits and seeds each year. In a cabbage-palm hammock in southwest Florida, an estimated 1,530,000/ha of ripe fruits (620,000/acre) were produced per year, of which 9 percent contained intact seeds after 6 months, 1 percent were infested by beetles, and 89 percent had been totally consumed or removed from the site (19).

Predation of cabbage palmetto seeds by a bruchid beetle (Caryobruchus gleditsiae) is the major cause of seed loss and regeneration failure (3,32). When seeds are carried off by animals, the probability of predation by this insect is greatly reduced. Seeds falling into water also escape this predation because they tend to be covered by sand or organic debris, so that germination occurs when temperature and moisture conditions become favorable. However, infestation of the fruit while still on the tree is substantial and can reach 98 percent (5). Seeds exposed to the sun for long periods do not germinate well (3).

Germination of cabbage palmetto seeds is hastened by stratification in moist sand for 30 days at 3° C (37° F) (18). Dormancy is also broken if the micropyle cap is removed. For example, germination of untreated seed was 36 percent in 100 days but was increased to 84 percent or more in 4 days by removal of the micropyle cap (29). Moisture and temperature requirements for germination are satisfactorily met throughout its range. Although the species does not reproduce on the fore dune or beach face, substrate salinity levels encountered on the lee side of dunes or in upper reaches of tidal creeks and marshes do not represent an establishment problem (3).

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Seedling Development

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Germination of cabbage palmetto is hypogeal. Like other palms, it grows upward from a single terminal bud and outward from the fibrovascular bundles distributed throughout its trunk. Because seeds germinate from middle to late summer, seedling growth the first year normally consists of a primary root, one fully expanded leaf with stem growth obliquely downward forming the rhizome. Ecotypic differences between northern and southern seed sources in seedling photosynthetic and biomass growth rates have been observed (3).

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Soils and Topography

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Cabbage palmetto can tolerate a broad range of soil pH, salinity, and drainage but prefers neutral to alkaline soils characterized by near-surface or exposed calcareous sands, marls, or limestone (10,15). Although it grows at the edges of both saline and freshwater areas, it cannot survive lengthy tidal inundations (8) but can withstand fluctuations of 2 m (6 ft) in freshwater levels by developing extensive adventitious rootlets along its trunk up to the high-water mark. This cylindrical root mass may reach diameters of 1.8 to 2.4 rn (6 to 8 ft) (24).

In the northern part of its range, cabbage palmetto is primarily found on the bay side of coastal dunes and adjacent mainland. Farther south in Georgia, it extends up the flood plains of major rivers. In central Florida, the tree is often found on fine sandy soils with subsoils of limestone or marl on periodically flooded lowlands, and on relic inland dune ridges below 30 rn (100 ft), an elevation that defines the approximate shoreline of the Wicomico Sea of the Pleistocene (7). With the construction of drainage ditches in south-central Florida, it has colonized the once seasonally inundated interhammock glades.

The species is found on a wide range of soils including those in the orders Entisols, Alfisols, Ultisols, and Spodosols in south Florida. Drainage tends to be restricted, ranging from somewhat poorly to very poorly drained. All soils appear to have one characteristic in common, a high calcium content, which is indicated by either a high base saturation (Alfisols) or limestone, phosphatic rock, or sea shells in the profile. Soil series typical of the Alfisols are Boca, Bradenton, Parkwood, and Riviera. Typical Entisols are exemplified by the Pompano series. Charlotte, Oldsmar, and Wabasso soil series are typical Spodosols on which the species is found.

The species often forms pure stands up to about 10 ha (25 acres) in freshwater areas, called river hammocks if they lie along a river, and cabbage-palm hammocks or palm savannas if they are on inland prairies.

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Special Uses

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Cabbage palmetto is so called because of its edible terminal bud which tastes somewhat like that vegetable. The bud, also called swamp cabbage, is good both raw and cooked and is commercially canned and sold. Removal of the bud kills the tree, however. Cabbage palmetto was an important tree to the Seminole Indians, who often made their homes on cabbage-palm hammocks (23). They made bread meal from the fruit, which has a sweet, prunelike flavor, and they used the palm fronds to thatch their chickees (huts) and to make baskets (10,22,25). Many other uses of this tree are documented (17,22,26): pilings for wharfs because they resist attacks by seaworms, stems, hollowed out to form pipes for carrying water, ornamental table tops from polished stem cross-sections, canes, scrub brushes from the bark fibers and leaf sheaths, and logs for cribbing in early fortifications because they did not produce lethal splinters when struck by cannonballs.

Currently, young cabbage palmetto fronds are collected and shipped worldwide each spring for use on Palm Sunday. This tree is in flower when many other plants are not and is a significant source of a strong but delicious dark-amber honey.

Perhaps the most important uses are as an ornamental and as wildlife food. The sheer magnitude of its annual fruit crop is such that it provides a substantial part of the diet of many animals such as deer, bear, raccoon, squirrel, bobwhite, and wild turkey (12,13, 18, 19, 20).

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Vegetative Reproduction

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No information available.

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Distribution

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Cabbage palmetto is the most widely distributed of our native palm trees. Its range extends northward from the Florida Keys through its epicenter in south-central Florida to Cape Fear, NC. A disjunct population has been reported at Cape Hatteras, NC (16). From North Carolina south to the Florida line it hugs the coastline, usually occurring within 20 km (12 mi) of the ocean. In Florida, its northern boundary turns west through Gainesville and follows an ancient shoreline across the peninsula to the Gulf Coast. It then follows the shoreline westward to St. Andrews Bay where its range is slowly extending (3). Outside the United States, it is found in the Bahama Islands (23).


-The native range of cabbage palmetto.


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Brief Summary

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Palmae -- Palm family

Dale D. Wade and 0. Gordon Langdon

Cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto) is the most northerly and abundant of the native tree palms. Other names sometimes used are Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, palmetto, and cabbage-palm. This medium-sized unbranched evergreen palm commonly grows on sandy shores, along brackish marshes, in seacoast woodlands of Southeastern United States and throughout peninsular Florida. It can tolerate a broad range of soil conditions and is often planted as a street tree. Abundant fruit crops provide a good supply of food to many kinds of wildlife.

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Sabal palmetto

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Sabal palmetto from von Martius' "Historia naturalis palmarum"

Sabal palmetto (/ˈsbəl/, SAY-bəl), also known as cabbage palm,[5] cabbage palmetto,[3] sabal palm, blue palmetto,[3] Carolina palmetto,[6] common palmetto,[6] and swamp cabbage,[7] is one of 15 species of palmetto palm. It is native to the Southern United States, as well as Cuba,[8] the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas.[8][9][10]

In the United States, the native range of S. palmetto is the coastal plain of the lower East Coast from southeast North Carolina southward to Florida and west along the Gulf Coastal plain to Texas.

Description

Sabal palmetto grows up to 65 feet or 20 metres. Starting at ½ to ⅔ the height, the tree develops into a rounded, costapalmate fan of numerous leaflets. A costapalmate leaf has a definite costa (midrib) unlike the typical palmate or fan leaf, but the leaflets are arranged radially like in a palmate leaf. All costapalmate leaves are about 0.20 inches or 5.1 millimetres across, produced in large compound panicles up to 8.2 feet or 2.5 metres in radius, extending out beyond the leaves. The fruit is a black drupe about 0.5 inches or 1.3 centimetres long containing a single seed. It is extremely salt-tolerant and is often seen growing near both the Atlantic Ocean coast and the Gulf of Mexico coast.[5]

Sabal palmetto is hardy to USDA zone 8, and has been reported to have some cold hardness down to 8.6 °F or −13.0 °C, but needs hot and humid summers to grow well. Maintenance of the cabbage palm tree is very easy and very adaptable. The cabbage palmetto is known to tolerate drought, standing water and brackish water. Even though this palm is drought-tolerant, it thrives on regular light watering and regular feeding. It is highly tolerant of salt winds, but not saltwater flooding.[11]

Historical background

The cabbage-like terminal bud has been eaten as hearts of palm. The bristles on the sheaths of young leaves have been made into scrubbing brushes. The trunks have been used as wharf piles. On June 28, 1776, Charleston patriots under William Moultrie made a fort of palmetto trunks and from it defended successfully against the British in the Revolutionary War.[12]

Cultivation and uses

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The approximate range of cultivation for cabbage palmettos in the US with little to no winter protection

Sabal palmetto is a popular landscape plant in subtropical climates and used for its tolerance of salt spray and drought, and is moderately cold hardy. Because of their relatively long establishment period and prevalence on southern ranchlands, few, if any are grown from seed in nurseries. Instead, established plants are dug in the wild with small rootballs since virtually all the severed roots die and must be replaced by new roots in the new location. Most leaves are removed at this time to reduce transpiration. It is the state tree of South Carolina and Florida. Most references rate the species as hardy to USDA hardiness zone 8a. Cabbage palms have excellent hurricane resistance, but are frequently overpruned. Sabal palms normally only do well in hot and humid summer climates.

The growing heart of the new fronds, also known as the terminal bud, gives the tree its "cabbage" name, since this is extracted as a food and tastes like other undifferentiated plant meristem tissue, such as the heart of a cabbage or artichoke. It is one of several palm species that are sometimes used to make heart of palm salad. Heart of palm was commonly eaten by Native Americans. However, extracting the heart kills this species of palm, because the terminal bud is the only point from which the palm can grow, so without this bud, the palm is not able to replace old leaves and eventually dies.

The cabbage palm is remarkably resistant to fire, floods, coastal conditions, cold, high winds, and drought. Despite this, recent mortality has been caused by Texas phoenix palm decline, a phytoplasma currently found on the west coast of Florida.

Sabal palmetto trunks appear in two different conditions, which can be confusing (see photo). When leaves die, the leaf bases typically persist for a while, creating a spiky, "basketweave" effect. These remnant leaf bases are called "bootjacks" or "boots", for short. The name stems from the "Y" shape that was reminiscent of devices used to aid individuals in removing boots. Transplanted palms are sometimes deliberately shorn of these bootjacks. Taller specimens are more likely to have lost their bootjacks and appear relatively smooth and columnar. The loss of bootjacks is a natural, if poorly understood, phenomenon, as the palm does not create a leaf abscission zone so the loss of the leaf bases results from some other physical or biological process.

Sabal palmetto "Lisa"

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Sabal palmetto "Lisa" in Fort Myers, Florida

In 1998, a new mutant form of S. palmetto was discovered in southwest Florida, and named as a cultivar, Sabal palmetto "Lisa". This cultivar has unusually thick and leathery, largely fused leaflets that give the palm a unique and appealing appearance. Over 60% of the seedlings have the same leaf characteristics as the parent plant and Sabal palmetto "Lisa" has been popularized in the nursery trade in Florida over the last 20 years and proven to be as resistant to heat, wind, cold, drought, and neglect as the common form while keeping its shape.[13]

Symbolic use

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Flag of South Carolina
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Seal of Florida
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Flag of Florida (1868–1900)
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Flag of Florida (1900)
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Flag of Florida (1900-1985)
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Flag of Florida (1985-present)

The sabal palmetto is the official state tree of both Florida and South Carolina (the latter is nicknamed "The Palmetto State").

The annual football rivalry game between Clemson and South Carolina is known as the "Palmetto Bowl".

A silhouette of a palmetto (S. palmetto) appears on the official flag of the US state of South Carolina.[14]

An image of a palmetto appears on the back of South Carolina's State quarter , which was issued in 2000.

Two images of S. palmetto appear on the official great seal of the State of Florida[15] and Flag of Florida.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "NatureServe Explorer 2.0 - Sabal palmetto, Cabbage Palmetto". explorer.natureserve.org.
  2. ^ Carrero, C. 2021. Sabal palmetto. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T87709255A87709290. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T87709255A87709290.en. Downloaded on 28 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Sabal palmetto". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  4. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  5. ^ a b Flora of North America: Sabal palmetto
  6. ^ a b Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon (1990). "Sabal palmetto". In Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H. (eds.). Hardwoods. Silvics of North America. Washington, D.C.: United States Forest Service (USFS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2. Retrieved 2014-03-22 – via Southern Research Station (www.srs.fs.fed.us).
  7. ^ James M. Stephens (1994). "Cabbage, Swamp — Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd ex Schult. & Schult.f., Fact Sheet HS-571" (PDF). University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Extension Service.
  8. ^ a b Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
  9. ^ Zona, S. (1990). "A monograph of Sabal (Arecaceae: Coryphoideae)". Aliso. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 12 (4): 583–666. doi:10.5642/aliso.19901204.02.
  10. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  11. ^ "Real Palm Trees". Palm Tree General Description.
  12. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross. Trees You Want to Know. Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, 1934. p36
  13. ^ "A new cultivar of Sabal palmetto" (PDF). Palm Tree General Description.
  14. ^ Netstate, South Carolina State Flag
  15. ^ The Great Seal of the State of Florida

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Sabal palmetto: Brief Summary

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 src= Sabal palmetto from von Martius' "Historia naturalis palmarum"

Sabal palmetto (/ˈseɪbəl/, SAY-bəl), also known as cabbage palm, cabbage palmetto, sabal palm, blue palmetto, Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, and swamp cabbage, is one of 15 species of palmetto palm. It is native to the Southern United States, as well as Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas.

In the United States, the native range of S. palmetto is the coastal plain of the lower East Coast from southeast North Carolina southward to Florida and west along the Gulf Coastal plain to Texas.

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