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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 22 | Arecaceae | Sabal

5. Sabal palmetto (Walter) Loddiges ex Schultes & Schultes f. in J. J. Roemer et al., Syst. Veg. 7(2):1487. 1830.

Cabbage-palm, palmetto, chou palmiste

Corypha palmetto Walter, Fl. Carol., 119. 1788; Chamaerops palmetto (Walter) Michaux; Corypha palma W. Bartram; Inodes palmetto (Walter) O. F. Cook; Sabal jamesiana Small

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.

Flowering spring--summer (northern part of range) or year around (southern part of range). Hammocks, pinelands, river banks, dunes, tidal flats; 0--40 m; Fla., Ga., N.C., S.C.; West Indies (Bahamas, Cuba).

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.


Brown, K. E. 1976. Ecological studies of the cabbage palm, Sabal palmetto. Principes 20: 3--10, 49--56, 98--115, 148--157.


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